Eat Right India
The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) launched FSSAI’s ‘Eat Right India’ Handbook and the website eatrightindia.gov.in to help various stakeholders.
• ‘Eat Right India’ movement initiated by FSSAI under the aegis of MoH&FWhas been creating awareness amongst the people about safe, healthy and sustainable dietary habits.
• To achieve this end and to convert the program into a people’s movement, FSSAI announced the Eat Right Challenge, an annual competition for 197 Districts and Cities in a unique way to strengthen the food safety and regulatory environment, build awareness among the consumers and urge them to make better food choices.
Robust food regulatory system: The food authority has taken informed steps to formulate new and strengthen the existing food standards in the country. This includes setting globally-benchmarked standards, credible food testing, surveillance and various enforcement activities. Through the Challenge, the aim is to broaden the reach of registration/licensing, enforcement, surveillance, among other core regulatory activities of FSSAI.
Self-compliance of food businesses and capacity building: Food may be contaminated with a variety of microorganisms at various stages across the supply chain – post-harvesting, storing, processing or during handling operations. Through training and certification of both big and small businesses, and unorganized vendors, self-compliance to regulations and standards set by the Authority can be achieved through a graded approach.
Changing food environments: Preventive healthcare is critical and lowers the burden of disease on the country and hence boosts productivity of its people. As food is a common thread linking citizens everywhere, the food authority’s approach is to transform the ‘food environment’ in the country to provide safe, healthy, nutritious, and sustainable diets to all. While doing so, engagement with both the consumers and the food industry is strengthened.
Mass mobilization:To make Eat Right India a people’s movement, the authority is planning to organise large-scale citizen-centric campaigns to bring about social and behavioural change. This includes awareness generation about reduction in the consumption of High Fat, Trans-fat, Salt and Sugar foods, while promoting consumption of local, seasonal and fortified foods for better health outcomes. This will create an environment of opting for informed healthier choices.
Advantages of ‘Eat Right India’
Food play an important role in building immunity because those people are getting more infected by COVID-19 whose immunity is not strong.
Diet helps in building one’s resilience and immunity towards various kinds of diseases, he emphasised “61.8% deaths from non-communicable like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular complications etc., are directly or indirectly related to faulty diet. Even communicable diseases like tuberculosis disproportionately affect people who are undernourished.
It targets people across ages, gender, regions, and socioeconomic groups.
It brings together food-related mandates of the agriculture, health, industry and environment ministries, with a ‘whole of government’ approach.
As a platform for collective action of stakeholders such as consumers, food businesses, community organisations, experts and professionals, and the government. It is in fact a ‘whole of society’ approach.
It connects with other flagship programs like Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, PoshanAbhiyaan, Fit India movement etc., to institutionalise preventive health care as a way of life.
FSSAI is gradually transitioning from enforcer to enabler and reformer. This integrative approach is unique for an emerging economy like India, with its challenges in size, complexity, food diversity and the large unorganised sector. Eat Right India will be a good template for collective attention in the UN’s 2021 Food System Summit.