The objective is to combat negative nutritional trends and fight lifestyle diseases
States such as Karnataka and Odisha have shown high intake of salt in their diet, revealed Hemalatha R, director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) during the launch of the ‘Eat Right Movement’ today. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has initiated this campaign, wherein the key stakeholders like food processing industries and restaurants will volunteer to reduce the percentage of salt, sugar and fat content in food.
This campaign has kick-started at a crucial time when India is becoming the diabetes capital of the world, cases of anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies are on the rise, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounting for 1 in 5 disease-related deaths.
As a part of the campaign, edible oil industries took a pledge to reduce trans-fat content by 2 per cent by 2022. Later, food companies also took a pledge to reformulate packaged foods with reduced level of salt, sugar and saturated fat.
This Eat Right Movement is a collaborative move with stakeholders—on both the demand and supply side—coming together. On the demand side, the campaign focuses on empowering citizens to make 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.
This is a voluntary movement from both the sides. To begin with, food brands such as Haldiram’s, Bikanerwala, Kellogg’s have volunteered to reformulate their products.
Related resources to disseminate the message
Apart from this, a tool kit also has been introduced to address the issue at grassroots level. Both theory- and activity-based manuals have been developed to train the ASHA and Anganwadi workers in the villages.
On the consumer front, FSSAI has come up with a separate portal where they can post queries and experts from the Nutrition Society of India(NSI), Indian Dietetic Association (IDA), Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India), Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) and individual experts will guide them. An AI-powered Chatbot for citizens to answer all questions related to food is also available. The experts have contributed health tips, balanced diets and easy recipes, which are available on the website.
Calling it a good move, Sunita Narain, director of Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, said that just like new regulations on packaging and labelling, and safe food for school children, FSSAI should consider making ‘Eating Right’ a regulation instead of only a volunteering activity to have a better impact.
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