Eat Right India: Dr Harsh Vardhan launches Food Safety Mitra scheme
New Delhi: “By motivating key players in the system who can reach out to people at large, we can reach out to each and every individual. We have to include every section of the society so that Eat Right India becomes a countrywide movement.” Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said at the function to commemorate World Food Day 2019.
The theme for this day was ‘Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World’. To mark the occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan also launched the ‘Food Safety Mitra (FSM)’ scheme, along with the ‘Eat Right Jacket’, and ‘Eat Right Jhola’ to strengthen food safety administration and scale up the ‘Eat Right India’ movement.
Dr Harsh Vardhan emphasized that the Eat Right India movement is a crucial trigger for the much needed social and behavioural change. This campaign along with the ‘Fit India' Movement' can achieve huge success if the right strategy is adopted and efforts are made to reach out to every section of the society. Dr. Harsh Vardhan further stated that people should adopt Gandhiji’s messages of eating less, eating safe and healthy food, and also reduce wastage of food while developing the habit of sharing surplus food. Citing the example of polio to highlight multi-sectoral approach, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated “All of us have to take up this responsibility in our own capacities. I believe that together we will be able to develop new approaches to combat challenges to health and society,” he added.
Highlighting the critical importance of a Jan Andolan on issues around food safety, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that small positive actions can be performed by individuals or organizations to strengthen the cause of food safety and food wastage.
The ‘Food Safety Mitra (FSM)’ scheme will support small and medium scale food businesses to comply with the food safety laws and facilitate licensing and registration, hygiene ratings and training. Apart from strengthening food safety, this scheme would also create new employment opportunities for youth, particularly with food and nutrition background. The FSMs would undergo training and certification by FSSAI to do their work and get paid by food businesses for their services. The first batch of 15 FSMs were awarded certificates today (Details of the scheme are available at https://fssai.gov.in/mitra/).
The ‘Eat Right Jacket’ launched today will be used by the field staff. This jacket has a smart design to hold tech devices like tablets/smart phone, a QR code and RFID tag for identification and tracking. Apart from providing safety to field staff on duty, this would bring in efficiency, professionalism and transparency in food safety administration and bring in a sense of ownership & visibility of FSOs. The ‘Eat Right Jhola’, a reusable cloth bag shall replace plastic bags for grocery shopping in various retail chains. Since on repeated use, bags are often contaminated with microorganisms and bacteria, proper and regular washing of cloth bags is essential to ensure safety and hygiene. These cloth bags are being provided on rental basis through a private textile rental service company.
FSSAI has partnered with the Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council (DWSSC) under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to launch a training course for domestic workers and homemakers across the country. In the first phase, one lakh domestic workers and homemakers will be trained through training partners of DWSSC in association with RWAs. This would be scaled up in due course.
For scaling up the Eat Right India movement across the country, FSSAI has got endorsement of several celebrities. Two short films, on repurposing of used cooking oil into biodiesel and, nutrition in the first 1000 days of life featuring Shri Virat Kohli and Ms. Juhi Chawla respectively, were released on the occasion.
Dr. K. Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Govt. of India, Mr. Arun Maira, former member of Planning Commission of India & former India Chairman of Boston Consulting Group, Shri Santosh Desai, CEO, Future Brands and Shri Sangram Singh, the world renowned professional wrestler were also present at the function. Also present at the event were Shri Pawan Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer (FSSAI), Shri Amod K. Kanth, founder of Prayas, along with other stakeholders from the Government, Scientific community, food businesses and corporates of the sector.