The FSSAI celebrated the first ever World Food Safety Day on 7th June 2019 as declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018. The Union Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan kick-started the World Food Safety Day along with Minister of State, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Ministry of Health mand Family Welfare at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). At the beginning of the celebrations the remarkable efforts of the States, Food Businesses and individuals in promoting food safety was commended. The theme of ‘Food Safety Everyone’s Business,’ attributed to this day, was recognised. The Prime Minister, in his message recognized that “Food safety is of prime importance for the well-being and health of our nation as well as its people, particularly women and children. The Government is focused on implementing the latest and best standards of food safety in the country.”
‘Food Safety, everyone’s business’
Since food touches the lives of everyone in the country, a wide cross section of stakeholders ranging from professionals to Government food safety officials, Development Partners, food business operators had gathered together to collectively take a pledge to promote food safety for all 130-crore citizens of the country.
The FSSAI’s State Food Safety Index (SFSI), to measure the performance of States in the five parameters of food safety was enfolded. SFSI would serve to galvanise all the States to work towards food safety. The seven states that led the ranking for their performance in food safety in 2018-2019 are Chandigarh, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The categories included Human Resources and Institutional Arrangements, Compliance, Food Testing- Infrastructure and Surveillance,Training and Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment. Other sates that performed well were Bihar, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh followed close behind.
Recognition and Awards
The FSSAI has also certified certain cities as ‘Clean Street Food Hubs’ which was based on third-party audits and training of street food vendors. The new city certified in this category is Golden Temple Street, Amritsar. In order to promote food safety at the community level, FSSAI has recognised the efforts of seven campuses in universities, schools,colleges/institutes,workplaces, defence/paramilitary establishments, hospitals and jails and has named them as ‘Eat Right Campus’. This recognition is based on
- compliance to a set of well-defined benchmarks on food safety and hygiene
- food waste management
- healthy diets
- promotion of local/seasonal
- food and awareness generation which would help improve their health and well-being.
The Expert Selection Committee also shortlisted 13 awards out of a total of 123 applications in five categories, namely, Food Products, Food Services, Organized Retail, Innovative Solutions, Safe Food including Testing, and Community outreach and Engagement. Out of a total of 83 applications, 14 awards were given for individual contribution made by young chefs, professionals and media influencers.
Food Safety Magic Box
The FSSAI also launched an innovative solution to take food safety to schools, called the ‘Food Safety Magic Box’. This is a do-it-yourself food testing kit which comprises a manual and equipment to check for food adulterants. Schoolchildren can easily use this testing kit in their school laboratories.This kit is equally useful for front line health workers. Twenty kits were distributed to Primary Health Centres and Government schools in Delhi with the support of the Delhi Food Safety Department.
Raman 1.0 launched.
Raman 1.0 is a new-age, hand-held battery-operated device made by Oak Analytics, India. This device can perform rapid detection (in less than 1minute) of economically driven adulteration in edible oils, fats and ghee. The equipmenttests more than 250 samples per battery charge, collects and stores data on cloud usinga smart device. This is the first of 19 such equipment and methods that have beenprovisionally approved by FSSAI for strengthening the food testing infrastructure inthe country.
Swasth Bharat Yatra commemorated
To commemorate 150 years of the Mahatma’s 150th birth anniversary, the FSSAI had launched the ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ on 16th October 2018, World Food Day to spread the message of‘Eat Right India’. This was a pan-India cyclothon, termed as the world’s largest public health awareness drive. In over 100 days, more than 21,000 volunteer cyclists and 10 lakh participants covered over 20,000 kms to reach 2100 places and touch the lives of 2.5 crore people, creating awareness on safe and healthy diets. To mark this cyclothon journey, a commemorative volume was released which captured the journey and impact of the ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ yatra. Further, the promo of a 10-part series on the yatra, shot as a food travelogue showcasing key messages of the ‘Eat Right India’ movement was also released.This series is being telecast on Living Foodz Channel every Saturday and Sunday at 9:30pm since May 25th and is being telecast from 1st June onwards on Zee Business Channel, at 5:30pm every weekend.To symbolize the ongoing journey towards good health, a statue of ‘Gandhiji on a Bicycle’, the first of its kind, was also unveiled by the Hon’ble Ministers.
A unique endeavour to mobilize people across the country for safe and healthy food by leveraging the local network and chapters of professional associations such as IDA, NSI, IMA etc., called Network of Professionals in Food and Nutrition (NetProFaN) has been created. A manifesto for NetProFaN was released, encompassing the vision, key objectives, thematic areas of action, activities to be carried out at the ground level and guidelines for functioning. The manifesto outlines a matrix for earning points to get recognition for efforts at the chapter and individual levels. To support these efforts as well as to make knowledge on safe and healthy diets accessible to people at large, FSSAI’s online Web resource Library was also launched. This library hosts informative and interesting videos on topics such as food adulteration, eating a balanced diet, fortified foods etc. This can be accessed at www.fssai.gov.in/videolibrary
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest, Hon’ble Union Minister for Health and Family
Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan appealed to all people to adopt Gandhiji’s messages of eating less, safe, healthily, simply, locally and sustainably by reducing food waste and sharing surplus food. He requested all present to take this pledge and involve local communities to take this message forward.He commended the FSSAI for their work great work but asked the people to turn the food safety movement into a Jan Andolan. He stated that if “we can get India to vote, we can get India to Eat Right.”
Hon’ble Minister of State, Shri Ashwani Kumar Choubey congratulated FSSAI and stated that clean food will give a clean body and mind, thoughts and deeds for which awareness about safe and healthy food is critical. Mrs. Preeti Sudan, while congratulating FSSAI on accomplishing so much with limited resources and manpower, stated that the he online resource material, training modules and Eat Right Toolkits have actualized the vision to enable ASHA and Anganwadi Workers to take the message of safe and healthy diets to each and every family at the village level.
The Chairperson, FSSAI said that the real tribute to the Mahatma lies in ensuring that safe food becomes the right of every individual and not a privilege of a few.”The CEO, FSSAI pointed out that the FSSAI is a different kind of organization as compared to food regulators across the world as they have brought food safety and nutrition together in the national health agenda. Secondly, the focus on consumer empowerment and working through partnerships and convergence makes FSSAI unique. The useful resources and initiatives for people and incentivizing safe food practices through multiple recognition systems at the state, city, community, organizational and individual levels are all commendable. Through all these measures, the FSSAI has raised the bar for food safety in the country but will strive to achieve further progress.