Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File Photo)
New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealed to people on Friday to make the "eat less and eat right" campaign a mass movement to ensure even one grain of food is not wasted and everyone has food to eat.
"Food is everyone's responsibility. Let us pledge to not waste even one grain of food, and ensure that in our own personal capacities and in our institutions, contribute towards food security. This will help to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition," Vardhan said at the first-ever World Food Safety Day celebration organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) here.
He said the "New India" vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi includes health, social security and nutrition.
Modi has acknowledged the 'Eat Right Movement' of FSSAI in his 'Mann ki Baat' radio address.
Vardhan said health is not only absence of disease and infirmity but the presence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-ness.
The minister also unveiled a statue of 'Gandhiji on a bicycle' installed at the FSSAI complex.
"As we commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Bapu, the statue symbolises his journey towards good health and shall constantly inspire people for emulating his good health practices," he said.
He further said Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy on food and health is relevant even today.
Vardhan said the people should adopt Gandhiji's messages of eating less, eating safe and healthy food, and also reducing waste and sharing surplus food.
"I request you all to take this pledge in your own local communities to take this message forward. It needs to be used optimally and turned into a jan andolan (mass movement)," he said.
Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey said that clean food will result in a clean body, mind and thoughts and deeds. For this, people's awareness about safe and healthy food and participation is critical to make an impact on society.
Vardhan also felicitated seven leading states/UTs based on the ranking for the year 2018-2019 for their impressive performance. These were Chandigarh, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
States such as Bihar, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh followed close behind.
In an effort to galvanise states to work towards ensuring safe food for citizens, FSSAI has developed the first State Food Safety Index (SFSI) to measure the performance of states on five parameters of food safety.
The categories included human resource and institutional arrangements, compliance, food testing - infrastructure and surveillance, training and capacity building and consumer empowerment.
Following the certification of several 'Clean Street Food Hubs' in several cities based on third-party audits and training of street food vendors, the Golden Temple Street in Amritsar has been recognized as a 'Clean Street Food Hub'.
Vardhan also launched a new-age, hand-held battery-operated device, called 'Raman 1.0', for rapid detection of economically driven adulteration in edible oils, fats and ghee.
The equipment tests more than 250 samples per battery charge, collects and stores data on the cloud using a smart device. This is the first of 19 such equipment and methods that have been provisionally approved by FSSAI for strengthening the food testing infrastructure in the country.
An innovative solution to take food safety to schools, called the 'Food Safety Magic Box' was also launched by Vardhan. This do-it-yourself food testing kit comprises a manual and equipment to check for food adulterants, which schoolchildren can use in their classroom laboratories. This kit is also 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.