World Food Safety Day (WSFD) is observed annually on 7 June. It aims to draw attention that food is not only an agricultural or trade commodity but also a public health issue. This year’s theme is ‘Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow’’
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) observed World Food Safety Day. World Food Safety Day (WSFD) is observed annually on 7 June to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks. This year’s theme — ‘Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow’’ signifies that food safety is a shared responsibility between the Government, producers, and consumers. Everyone has a role to play to ensure the food we consume is safe and healthy. The resurgence of the Covid 19 pandemic has brought the focus on food, nutrition, health, immunity and sustainability. It is crucial to ensure the availability of safe food in the markets as any contamination arising from food can result in additional expenditure on the healthcare system in the form of foodborne diseases.
On this occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, highlighted that World Food Safety Day is celebrated worldwide. It aims to draw attention that food is not only an agricultural or trade commodity but also a public health issue, and hence, food safety has to be seen as an essential public health function. The call to action is to ensure that the food we eat is safe and nourishing, and the food safety must be integrated across all stages from farm to table, and all should converge to ensure it is a shared responsibility. Food safety forms an essential component of health and nutrition policies. Therefore, significant steps should be taken to inspire action to help, prevent, detect and manage any foodborne risks for contributing towards food security, human health, economic prosperity, market access and a sustainable food system.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, congratulated all stakeholders associated with the food supply chain. He mentioned the importance of food safety and how we can work together to fight issues related to unsafe food. He further highlighted that this pandemic has acted as an eye-opener. It offered us an opportunity to strengthen India’s food safety systems and keep our food supply safe in the current situation.
As part of the World Food Safety Day celebration, FSSAI announced the winners of the Eat Right Creativity challenge organized online for school children to unleash their creativity by inculcating the message of ‘‘Safe, Healthy and Sustainable Diets’’. Over 26,000 entries were received across India, 640 entries were awarded as Regional Winners, and 250 entries were identified as National Winners under this challenge. Further, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Chennai, Lucknow and Pune were identified as winners of the NeTProFaN challenges for conducting mass awareness activities in the last one year.
On this occasion Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched a new-age, hand-held battery operated device called ‘Raman 1.0’. This device performs rapid detection (in less than 1 minute) 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 Dr. Harsh 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 frontline health workers. Twenty kits were distributed to Primary Health Centres and Government schools in Delhi with the support of the Delhi Food Safety Department.
The Health Minister also felicitated the campuses of IIT Gandhinagar, IIT Roorkie, LBSNAA, Mussourie, Unilever, Bengaluru, Wipro, Bengaluru, HCL Noida and Genpact, Gurugram for their exemplary standards. The felicitation was for recognizing the efforts at the community level to promote food safety, FSSAI has declared seven campuses such as those of universities, schools, colleges/institutes, workplaces, defence/paramilitary establishments, hospitals and jails as ‘Eat Right Campus’.
FSSAI has instituted the ‘Eat Right Awards’ to recognize the contribution of food companies and individuals to empower citizens to choose safe and healthy food options, which would help improve their health and well-being. A commemorative volume to capture the journey and impact of this yatra was also released by the Union Minister of Health as a tribute to all the stakeholders who contributed to make this movement a huge success.
A Web-resource online Library of FSSAI was also launched. This library hosts informative and interesting videos on topics such as food adulteration, eating a balanced diet, fortified foods etc. This can be accessed at www.fssai.gov.in/videolibrary.
Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), Rita Teotia, Chairperson (FSSAI), Pawan Agarwal, CEO (FSSAI), Dr Venkatesh, DGHS along with Government food safety officials, Development Partners, and food business operators were also present at the event.