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Over the past 10 years, FAO has collaborated with a number of countries in various parts of the world in the evaluation of street food quality, safety and socio-economics and in implementing recommendations for improvement.

The FAO Expert Consultation on Street Foods which was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 1988, was the first international consultation of this subject. That Consultation assessed the role and importance of this informal food service sector in providing a convenient and economic food supply to the urban population, particularly in developing countries. It identified and recommended measures to improve the quality and safety of street foods. Since then, and as a direct follow-up to the Consultation's recommendations, a number of activities have been developed and implemented in different parts of the world, many with FAO's involvement. Several other meetings have been held to periodically review progress made in improving street food quality and safety, at regional, sub-regional and national levels.

As a follow up to these extensive activities, it was agreed that there was a need to review the progress made in improving street foods quality and safety at a global level; to analyze different experiences and lessons learnt; and to provide the international community with an updated set of recommendations and guidelines to stimulate new and enable continuing improvement. Thus, this FAO Technical Meeting on Street Foods was held from 6 to 9 November 1995 in Calcutta, India for this purpose.

Calcutta was chosen as the venue for this meeting because of the highly successful street food improvement project undertaken in this city beginning in 1992. In 1995 the All India Institute for Hygiene and Public Health received the FAO/Edouard Saouma Award for its significant contribution to the success of the project entitled "Improving Street Foods in Calcutta". That project, identified as TCP/IND/0155, was sponsored by FAO under its Technical Cooperation Programme. In addition, much experience has been gained by India by studying street food quality, safety and socio-economics in other cities including Bombay, Pune, Hyderabad and Secundarabad.

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