FSSAI’s Eat Right India Movement is based on a holistic and collaborative approach where stakeholders on both the demand and supply side come together to make a difference. On the demand side, the Eat Right Movement focuses on empowering citizens to make the right food choices. On the supply side, it nudges food businesses to reformulate their products, provide better nutritional information to consumers and make investments in healthy food as responsible food businesses.
Food manufacturers follow regulatory compliance and food safety laws to ensure the quality and safety of the foods that they manufacture. However, once the food has been purchased, the safety of the foods becomes the responsibility of the consumer. Therefore, it is important to take precautions when buying and storing foods as quality and safety of some foods can be affected by poor purchasing and storage. In the same way it is the responsibility of the consumer to ensure they bring home safe fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, meats etc. Here are some tips that FSSAI has provided as part of their Eat Right India initiative which you can follow when purchasing all kinds of foods.
Here are Some Important General Tips
- Never eat food that looks spoiled or doubtful, it is best to throw it away immediately and wash the container thoroughly. Never taste such doubtful food to check if it is spoiled. Eating even a small amount of spoiled food can be a health hazard.
- Do not purchase products marked as ‘Keep refrigerated’, ‘Keep chilled’ or ‘Keep frozen’ that have not been stored under adequate refrigeration.
- Take food that needs refrigeration home quickly and place it in the refrigerator or freezer promptly.
- While shopping, pick perishable foods like milk, fresh meat, fish or frozen packs last to avoid spoilage.
- Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart/grocery bags.
Tips for buying fruits and vegetables
Do not buy
- Overripe, blemished/darkened, bruised or insect infested vegetables and fruits
- Green leafy vegetables with wilted or yellow leaves, mushy texture, unpleasant odour, slimy, fuzzy or mouldy growth
- Shrivelled, soft/pulpy, green and sprouted roots and tubers
- Green or sprouted potatoes as they could be toxic
- Onions that are squishy on the inside or have black powder on the scales or are sprouted
- Pulpy, shrivelled and overripe/rotting fruits
- Wet, mouldy or shrivelled, loose grapes that have fallen off the bunch. This means they are very ripe
Tips for buying Milk and Milk Products
- Unpasteurised milk
- Milk that is discoloured, stringy, sour in taste or curdled, with unnatural odour
- Loose milk and curd
- Cheese and cottage cheese or paneer that is slimy to touch, has creamy yellowish discolouration, or bad odour
- Milk and milk products if the packaging is not sealed properly, or is puffed
- If expiry date or ‘best before’ date on the packet has lapsed
Tips for buying pulses and cereals
Make sure you do not buy them if they contain
- Clumps, musty smell or cottony growth,
- Unpleasant odour
- Stones, dirt
- Insect infestation
Tips for buying fats and oils
- Oils sold loose, especially mustard oil
- Viscous or very thick and dark oil with suspended impurities
- Nuts and oilseeds/powders with rancid smell
- Insect infested/ mouldy groundnuts
Tips for buying spices and condiments
Do not buy them if they have
- Cottony growth
- Unpleasant odour
- Presence of insects and powder in whole spices, mould growth and artificial /bright colours
- Clumps in ground spices
Tips for buying eggs, meat, poultry and fish
Do not buy
- Eggs with dirty and discoloured shells or soiled with droppings.
- Eggs with cracked shells
- Eggs that float in water
- Broken eggs with blood spot/meat spot/foul odour
- Fish with flesh on which depression remains when pressed with a finger or flesh that becomes soft and falls apart or flabby flesh that separates from the bones
- Fish with grey or green gills
- Fish with dull, sunken eyes
- Fish with foul odour and very few scales left on the fish, if the fish is scaly
- Meat and poultry with tough, fibrous flesh with more fat and bone, discolouration, putrid smell, slimy appearance and touch and damaged packaging
Tips for buying frozen foods
Do not buy if there are
- Large amounts of ice crystals, discolouration, foul smell
- If packaging is soiled, leaking or damaged
- If food has thawed
Tips for buying packaged/canned/bottled foods
Do not buy
- Deflated packets (with less air), suspended impurities, dented, bulging, and leaking packets/cans.
- Packets having contents with putrid smell, brine/ syrup, or which look cloudy/ bubbly or slimy.
Tips to Check Food Labels while Purchasing
- Always check the ‘Date of Manufacture’ and ‘Date of Expiry’ or ‘Best Before’ date for freshness.
- Be sure to consume foods before the ‘Best Before’ date or before the ‘Expiry Date’ has lapsed.
- Carefully check the list of ingredients.
- Common allergy-causing ingredients include casein in milk, tree nuts including peanuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, soybean, and proteins in wheat. Avoid foods products that include these ingredients if the consumer is sensitive to them. Consuming these even in small quantities can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
- Check the food additives for artificial/permitted flavouring and colours. Class I preservatives are preferred over class II.
Read instructions for use and storage if mentioned. Make sure you follow these instructions for best results.