After initiatives for school and home, the FSSAI is now batting for safe and nutritious food at the workplace. In this regard, the FSSAI recently launched their [email protected] (safe and nutritious food at the workplace) initiative as a means to combat the alarming increase in obesity and non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension. FSSAI believes that preventive healthcare is the need of the hour and good food habits are the key to health and wellness and so it sees the [email protected] as an important milestone in this direction.
Dir. Vinod Paul, Member NITI Aayog as Chief Guest, applauded the consistent efforts of FSSAI in the direction of ensuring safe and wholesome food to consumers. He was emphatic when stating that a safe, hygienic and healthy diet is not only a step towards preventive healthcare but it also improves employee productivity.
“[email protected]” has been launched as a nation-wide campaign to help people eat safe and eat right while at work. Since a majority of the workforce consumes at least one meal during office hours, so changes in eating habits at the workplace is critical.
‘The Orange Book: Your Guide to Safe and Nutritious Food at the Workplace’ was also launched as part of the initiative. This book highlights the role to be played by key stakeholders such as the administration, canteen establishment and the employees in ensuring safe and nutritious food in the workplace. To create a self-propelling and sustainable ecosystem, a systematic framework of FSSAI-trained Resource Persons, Health & Wellness Coordinators and Food Safety Supervisors for every workplace has been enabled. FSSAI has also launched an online portal (www.snfportal.in/workplace) where offices interested in the initiative can join the movement and access resources, information and links to become a health promoting workplace.
To encourage health-promoting habits at the workplace the FSSAI aims at recognizing and rewarding such workplaces. A process is being developed to rate and certify workplaces on the basis of a 15-point matrix. The evaluation would promote a holistic approach, going beyond the canteen/cafeteria and also look towards systematic efforts at promoting a healthy ecosystem in the workplace. The evaluation criteria would include
- canteen/cafeteria practices
- systems in place to promote health and wellness
- regulatory and voluntary initiatives like ensuring licensed vendors for the kitchen/ canteen/caterer
- personal hygiene of food handlers and safe food practices as per FSMS guidelines
- display of Food Safety Display Boards in kitchens/canteens
- presence of a trained and certified Food Safety Supervisor
To promote employee awareness, some of the measures include an
- FSSAI trained Health and Wellness Coordinator
- educating employees
- through resources such as The Orange Book
- providing healthy food options, using fortified foods for cooking
- promoting general health and wellbeing
Impanelled audit agencies/auditors, in accordance with Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulation, 2017, will be assigned to evaluate such interested workplaces. These auditing agencies will work closely with workplaces to assist them in adopting these key best practices of the Health & Wellness Matrix before the final auditing process. Reviewed workplaces will be given ratings with 3, 4 and 5 stars that rate the quality of food and canteens, as well as the activities focused on employee’s health and wellness. The rating mechanism would not only assess the nutritional environment of the workplaces but would also provide a ready list of great places to work being mindful of their employee productivity and health, which should be the fundamental part of any corporate wellness initiative.
The journey towards “SNF” movement is one in the bouquet of initiatives that help to inculcate safe and wholesome food habits in every walk of life. The successful launch of [email protected] took place with the ‘Pink Book,’ a must-have guide for every home kitchen. The [email protected] initiative was launched with the “Yellow Books” for schools. Under BHOG (Blissful Hygienic Offering to God), places of worship are trained to ensure food safety and hygiene standards are maintained in preparing their offerings and food. The rich content available in these resource books is carefully developed and based on scientific evidence.
The ‘Pink Book’ has already gone viral on social media, and thousands of copies have been printed and disseminated widely as a part of CSR activities across the country. National Level Resource Persons have been trained and are already reaching out to lakhs of households through nutrition clubs and direct sellers associations. Similarly, the [email protected] programme has impacted 2, 00,000 children and covered over 2,000 schools across the country. To carry the message of healthy and safe eating, life-size mascots.
Master and Miss Sehat have been conceptualized. These Health Mascots have already covered more than 8 cities, with over 400 activations touching 10, 00,000 people directly or indirectly.
The [email protected] initiative is being seen as a powerful mechanism for every workplace to take this forward. In his closing address, Dr. Paul, therefore, stated that they would begin by licensing and registering government canteens as well as canteens under Government hospitals and set a milestone further with the support of State Governments. Dir. V. K. Singh, Joint Secretary, DOPT, congratulated FSSAI for such a noble beginning that touches the lives of people directly. He emphasized that workplaces need to be more cognizant of employees’ health and wellbeing. Also present on the occasion were Dir. Sesikeran, President of Nutrition Society of India, Dir. Ambrish Mithal, Medanta; Dir. Sreejith N Kumar from All India Medical Association and Dir. Ishi Khosla, Nutritionist. They applauded the efforts of FSSAI and emphasized the need to control NCDs through healthy eating practices by introducing a National Policy focused on Food and Nutrition in consultation with NITI Aayog.