The FSSAI recently organised an event to celebrate ‘World food Day’ which was presided over by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare. This year’s theme is ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together’. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare joined the programme through video conference. Other dignitaries present on this occasion were Sh. Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Shri Arun Singhal, CEO FSSAI and other senior officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and FSSAI.
Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that due to the unprecedented challenges faced by the world on account of the pandemic, there has been a renewed focus on food, nutrition, health, immunity and sustainability. He re-iterated how the FSSAI’s game-changing ‘Eat Right India’ and ‘Fit India Movement’ have the potential to promote safe and healthy food for everyone in an environmentally sustainable way. It is a part of FSSAI’s mandate to provide safe and wholesome food for all citizens. These programmes will improve the food safety ecosystems and lift the hygiene and health of our citizens.”
A key focus area this year is the elimination of Trans Fats from the food supply chain. Trans fat can be considered a food toxin present in Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (PHVOs) (e.g. vanaspati, shortening, margarine, etc.), baked and fried foods, Trans Fat is a major contributor to the rise in non-communicable diseases in India. As a doctor. Dr. Harsh Vardhan is well aware of trans fat and stated that “trans fat is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Eliminating CVD risk factor has become especially relevant now during COVID-19, as people with CVD are predisposed to have serious conditions having an impact on mortality.” The Healthy Ministry and FSSAI are putting in special efforts to make India trans fat free by 2022, one year ahead of WHO target so as to be in sync with Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi’s vision of a New India on 75 years of the country’s independence.
Besides ‘Eat Right India’ and ‘Fit India Movement’ other programmes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission and other efforts of the Environment Ministry will improve the health of Indians and heal the environment.” Dr. Harsh Vardhan also urged the FSSAI to leverage technology so that citizens can gain from the gamut of reliable information available through internet. This would enable them to make responsible choices.
The occasion also saw the launch of several competitions like the Eat Right Creativity Challenge for schools. This is a poster and photography competition that aims to promote healthy dietary habits. Another competition is the ‘Eat Smart City’ (challenge) for which FSSAI has partnered with Smart City Mission and The Food Foundation, UK. This challenge will create an environment of right food practices and habits in India’s smart cities and can set an example for other cities to follow.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also launched a number of books/guidelines on the occasion: like the following
- The Food Safety and Hygiene Guidelines for Safe Reopening of School Canteen/Mess document. These guidelines highlight the best practices to be followed in the ‘New normal of COVID-19’ by all the stakeholders. It also includes tips on personal and environmental hygiene and common myths with their clarifications.
- The ‘Do you Eat Right?’ book which will help to translate the technical concepts on food and nutrition and Eat Right initiatives into a simple conventional style for the general public.
- The ‘Orange Book’ for Eat Right Campus that will serve as a resource guide which can be used to implement the mandatory food safety and hygiene requirements in campus canteens, ensure provision of healthy and environmentally sustainable food and build awareness among the individuals in workplaces, colleges, universities, institutions, hospitals etc. across the country.
- Daily Recommendations and Food Fortification- A handbook for States launched by FSSAI that will provide answers to the prime concerns around food fortification to State government officials. It will further elaborate the difference in the average consumption of micronutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12 in a regular diet when compared with inclusion of fortified staples in everyday meals.
There were several other officials who were invited to attend the event through video-conferencing like State Food Safety Commissioners, Regional Directors and officers of FSSAI, Professionals of Scientific Panel of Oils and fats, Officials of International Public Health Organisations; WHO, World Bank, Vital Strategies, Members of NePRoFaN – Network of Professionals of Food and Nutrition, Prominent food business Corporates, Industry Associations, Implementation partners, Development Partners for Food Fortification.
Source : FSSAI