Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare recently kick-started FSSAI’s POSHAN Maah 2019. This is a year-long social and mass media campaign under the Eat Right India Movement. The campaign aims to inspire consumers to target 365 Days of simple thinking, healthy eating and sustainable living. During the campaign there will be one tweet a day that will focus on the weekly theme of eating right for the next 365 days.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also launched the new Eat Right India logo that represents a healthy plate, an online Eat Right Quiz, the Eat Right Online Course for frontline health workers and the Eat Right India Store featuring merchandize to nudge right eating habits. The programmes were launched with the support of stakeholders such as the World Health Organization, along with Ministers and delegates from South East Asian countries.
The Eat Right India movement is headed by the FSSAI as a crucial preventive healthcare measure to trigger social and behavioural change through a judicious mix of regulatory measures, combined with soft interventions for ensuring awareness and capacity building of food businesses and citizens alike. This movement is aligned with the Government’s flagship public health programmes such as POSHAN Maah Abhiyaan, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Swachh Bharat Mission.
The country is in need of a ‘Jan Andolan’ so as to prevent and promote health for all in the backdrop of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes,hypertension and heart diseases, widespread deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and rampant food borne illnesses. The groundwork for escalating the Eat Right India Movement to the level of a Jan Andolan has been underway during the past few months. As a part of these measures the FSSAI has
- put in place robust regulatory measures under three major pillars:
- Eat Safe
- Eat Health
- Eat Sustainably
- prescribed a limit for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) at 25% in cooking oil to avoid the harmful effects of reused cooking oil.
- Set standards for five fortified staples -wheat flour, rice,oil, milk and salt to reduce large-scale deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and these standards have been notified, in addition to standards for health supplements, nutraceuticals, prebiotics and probiotics products.
- Notified regulations on ‘Advertising and Claims’ and mandatory menu labelling have been notified so as to trigger informed consumer choices.
- made labelling provisions for appropriate use of sweeteners for children and pregnant women
- put in place regulations to reduce trans-fats to less than 2% in all oils, fats and food products are in place so as to reach the target of Trans-fat Free India by 2022
In addition to promote sustainability, FSSAI has removed the restriction on the use of returnable bottles and is promoting the use of bamboo instead of plastics. Preparatory work for creating awareness around mindful eating is also in place, with pilots/prototypes for cluster schemes such as Clean Street Food Hubs, Clean and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable markets and Eat Right Campus for schools, colleges, work places and other campuses being successfully tested on a pan-India basis.
Food businesses have participated in large-scale training and capacity building programs,so as to ensure food safety, through the Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) initiative, under which over 1.7 lakh Food Safety Supervisors have been trained and certified. Robust material in the form of Pink Book, Yellow Book, DART Book, informative videos etc are in place, and can be accessed through a video library on FSSAI’s website.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare compared the Eat Right India Movement to the ‘Green Good Deeds’campaign which was started to protect the environment and promote good living in the country. He stated that just like the ‘Green Good Deeds’ campaign has found global acceptance so the Eat Right India movement is also poised to become a global best practice with the support of national and international stakeholders. The Minister also urged the media to spread the key message of this Jan Andolan to citizens and make it popular like Polio Mukt Bharat.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, World Health Organization (WHO) spoke about how Eat Right India movement’s message is close to the heart of what the WHO has been saying all along. She congratulated the Government of India as FSSAI has put this into action. She remarked that the, “four main factors to prevent non-communicable diseases are healthy diet, physical exercise, avoidance of tobacco and alcohol. Therefore, the message of ‘Eat Right’should be promoted everywhere. Citizens should choose healthy food and the food industry should manufacture healthy food. The media can be effective partners as they can help to spread this message. She urged stakeholders to take forward the Eat Right India movement in mission mode.