The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India declared in the preamble to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, that it will ensure the availability of good quality, wholesome, and, importantly, safe food for all Indians. India needed a drastic overhaul of its food system, and it was imperative that Indians have access to healthy and sustainable food. This is the genesis of the Eat Right India movement. The very apt tagline is Sahi Bhojan. Behtar Jeevan - or "Right food. Better life" explains the movement well.
The Eat Right India movement takes within its ambit various areas, from making itself a regulatory body, to enhancing capacity building to championing collaborative work towards empowerment of food makers and everyone across the supply chain, finally leading to the consumer. It ensures sustainability and keeps in mind the environmental issues while doing so. In trying to do so, it also involves all stakeholders - government, food businesses, civil society organizations, the common man, development agencies, experts as well as professionals. The Eat Right India initiative wants to integrate and take a holistic view of all mandates relating to food and thus has dealings with health, environment, agriculture, and other related ministries. As food or its lack can be the cause of diet-related diseases spanning all ages and classes in society, this is the common platform where all the interests converge.
It is aligned to the National Health Policy 2017, focusing on preventive healthcare as well as trying to promote good health. The government's flagship programs like Ayushman Bharat, POSHAN, Abhiyaan, Anemia Mukt Bharat, and Swachch Bharat Mission are all interlinked with each other.
Eat Right India Movement Need
On the one hand, food-borne diseases and lack of proper nutrition, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies are big reasons why India needs to concentrate on getting the right food to its people. On the other, we have alarming incidences of obesity and carb-rich food, leading to hypertension, diabetes, and various heart-related illnesses. We have nearly 200 million undernourished and nearly 135 million overweight or obese. The distribution of the right food is clearly a problem. Food-borne illnesses will rise exponentially too, making most Indians vulnerable.
The way we cultivate and consume our food is problematic and is a big threat to the sustainability of the planet, responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately leading to climate change. Safe, healthy food for all is the only way to go forward. Mass mobilization in order to bring about societal behavioural change is also very necessary.
Mahatma Gandhi believed in simplicity and minimalism even in what we eat. The Eat Right India follows in his footsteps.
FAQs on Eat Right India Movement
Q.1) What are the key themes of the Eat Right India movement?
- Eat Right India has three tenets- Eat Safe, Eat Healthily, and Eat Sustainable.
- Eat Safe: Focus on personal hygiene, sanitary practices, stopping adulteration, reducing toxins, and controlling food hazards.
- Eat Healthily: Promote a balanced diet while inculcating diversity, eliminate toxic trans-fat from food, encourage consumption of the right food.
- Eat Sustainable: This is food that is seasonal, with very little or no chemicals and packaging that is safe and environment friendly.
Q.2) What are some Eat Right India initiatives?
- Being a regulatory body of FSSAI.
- Setting science-based, properly benchmarked standards for food
- Ensuring trustworthy food-testing measures and facilities
- Ensuring compliance
- Get food businesses to build capacities for food safety
- Hygiene rating of restaurants and catering businesses.
Q.3) What sustainability initiatives do the Eat Right India movement champion?
- Support and encourage responsible production of food
- Ensure the consumption of food is not harmful to the environment
- Reduce food wastage
- Promote and actively encourage food donation
- Eliminate all kinds of bio-nondegradable packaging
- Healthy use of cooking oil
- Repurpose used cooking oil to make soap, biodiesel, etc.