Food systems around the world are delivering unhealthy diets, raising the risk of death and disease, malnutrition, and rising obesity. Building a world where safe and nutritious food is available for everyone and everywhere requires transformation of the food systems(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Food systems around the world are delivering unhealthy diets, raising the risk of death and disease, malnutrition, and rising obesity. Building a world where safe and nutritious food is available for everyone and everywhere requires transformation of the food systems(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With the Eat Right India movement, we seek to secure a healthy future

Transforming our food system poses one of the greatest leadership challenges and opportunities of our time
By Pawan Agarwal
UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2020 08:07 PM IST

We are what we eat, and we eat what we get. But we do not get what we need. We get what our food system provides.

Food systems around the world are delivering unhealthy diets, raising the risk of death and disease, malnutrition, and rising obesity. Building a world where safe and nutritious food is available for everyone and everywhere requires transformation of the food systems.

Food systems lie at the interface of agriculture and rural economy, industry and commerce, public health and environment. Transforming them requires cooperation, partnerships and alliances, with public-private collaborations cutting across traditional silos. This poses one of the greatest leadership challenges and opportunities of our generation.

Food systems are critical to many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognising this, the UN will host a Food Systems Summit in 2021 as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs.

At the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI ), we are leading a movement called Eat Right India, to provide safe and wholesome food to people everywhere. This requires a mix of regulatory, capacity building, collaborative and empowerment tools. By combining supportive actions to its primary regulatory mandate, we are taking a “food systems approach” to address these issues in a holistic manner. FSSAI was applauded for it by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat radio address in December last year.

The Eat Right India movement is a collective effort based on three pillars: Safety (if it’s not safe, it’s not food); Health (food should not only serve the palate but the body and mind); and Sustainability (food has to be good both for people and the planet).

There are five concrete actions under each pillar. Under safety, the focus is on ensuring personal and surrounding hygiene, maintaining hygienic and sanitary practices through the food supply chain, combating adulteration, reducing toxins and contaminants in food, and controlling food hazards in processing and manufacturing processes.

Under the healthy diet pillar, we promote dietary diversity and balanced diets, eating less and timely, eliminating toxic industrial trans fats from food, reducing consumption of salt, sugar and saturated fats, and promoting large-scale fortification of staples to address micronutrient deficiencies.

The sustainable diet actions promote local and seasonal foods, preventing food loss and food waste, conserving water in food value chains, reducing use of chemicals in food production and preservation, and the use of safer and sustainable packaging.

These actions aim to achieve three things: inspire public trust in food available to people in the market or through government programmes, through improved safety and quality of food; second, to build a strong culture of self-compliance in all food businesses across the supply chain, with better ease of doing business; and finally, to promote safe, healthy and sustainable diets through both demand and supply side interventions, to protect the health of the people and the planet.

There is action on the ground as well. This includes certification of clean street food hubs, fruit and vegetable markets, hygiene rating of halwai shops, meat shops, safety of food served in religious places, and so on. Eat Right India’s home, school and campus initiatives are settings-based approaches to providing the right food environments so that people get what they need.

Mass campaigns with celebrity influencers like Virat Kohli, Raj Kumar Rao, Juhi Chawla and Sakshi Tanwar are triggering behavioural changes for informed food choices. A rich repository of content and messaging (print, digital audio and video) has been created and disseminated. A nation-wide scaling up of the Eat Right India movement is now planned.

The Eat Right India targets people across ages, gender, regions, and socioeconomic groups. It brings together food-related mandates of the agriculture, health, industry and environment ministries, with a “whole of government” approach. As a platform for collective action of stakeholders — consumers, food businesses, community organisations, experts and professionals, and the government — it is in fact a “whole of society” approach. It connects with other flagship programs — Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Poshan Abhiyaan, Fit India movement — to institutionalise preventive health care as a way of life.

The Eat Right India movement has forged partnerships with food and nutrition professionals: dieticians, nutritionists, medical doctors, chefs, food scientists, technologists and analysts. They support outreach in collaboration with state food authorities.

FSSAI is gradually transitioning from enforcer to enabler and reformer. This integrative approach is unique for a developing economy like India, with its challenges in size, complexity, food diversity and the large unorganised sector. Eat Right India will be a good template for collective attention in the UN’s 2021 Food System Summit.

Pawan Agarwal is secretary, Government of India and CEO, FSSAIThe views expressed are personal

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Elections in Kerala are punctuated by several controversies, both past and present (File Photo)
Elections in Kerala are punctuated by several controversies, both past and present (File Photo)

Espionage to smuggling, scandals spice up every poll in Kerala

By Ramesh Babu, Thiruvanathapuram
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:26 PM IST
  • controversies and scandals were part of the state polity in the last three decades and mushrooming digital media also played its part in amplifying them, said a political observer.
Close
The 1962 baggage at the turn of century was such that for 40 years, subsequent governments did not dare build border roads on the ground that these could be used by the Chinese army to enter the hinterland in case of a conflict.(PTI)
The 1962 baggage at the turn of century was such that for 40 years, subsequent governments did not dare build border roads on the ground that these could be used by the Chinese army to enter the hinterland in case of a conflict.(PTI)

Why 2021 political rhetoric is no match for 1962 fighting in Ladakh

By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 02:15 PM IST
  • India and China came close to war last year after Indian army commanders atop Rezang La-Rechin La ridge threatened to fire at the advancing PLA tank regiment that sought to dislodge the Indian troopers.
Close
Approximately half of the countries use population for delimitation, while another third use registered voters. Nowhere is it based on area and for good reasons (HTPHOTO)
Approximately half of the countries use population for delimitation, while another third use registered voters. Nowhere is it based on area and for good reasons (HTPHOTO)

J&K delimitation: Go by the population rule

By Haseeb Drabu
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:39 PM IST
Having already decided on the number of electors as well as the number of elected, the only part of delimitation that has been left to the Commission is the electoral cartography — the redrawing of boundaries and enclosing people within the constituency framework. Notwithstanding these debilitating infirmities in the context of J&K, the redrawing of the constituencies is an extraordinarily complex and highly contentious exercise. It can potentially alter the electoral demographic balance.
Close
Representational image. (AFP)
Representational image. (AFP)

Congress needs to worry more about rebels than opponents in Puducherry

By Abhishek Jha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 06:32 PM IST
The only time the Congress has lost Puducherry, it has been because of a rebel. The Congress and DMK together have won over 50% seats in every assembly elections in Puducherry since 1980, except in 2011
Close
At a January meeting to review projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed displeasure at the process-driven bureaucracy (ANI)
At a January meeting to review projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed displeasure at the process-driven bureaucracy (ANI)

Behind PM Modi’s stinging critique of the IAS, a Jan meeting holds the clue

By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2021 09:35 AM IST
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given bureaucrats an earful at a January meeting of the country's top officials and underlined the price that India paid for their slow pace.
Close
PM Narendra Modi was emotional while giving a farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad from Rajya Sabha.
PM Narendra Modi was emotional while giving a farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad from Rajya Sabha.

Salute to Ghulam Nabi Azad underlined PM Modi’s personal ties with rivals

By Saubhadra Chatterji | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2021 03:37 PM IST
  • Leaders from the Congress and other Opposition parties have many stories to show that the Prime Minister has maintained personal rapport with leaders cutting across political boundaries.
Close
Officials carry out search and rescue operation at Tapovan Tunnel, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on Sunday. (File photo)
Officials carry out search and rescue operation at Tapovan Tunnel, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on Sunday. (File photo)

Not just climate change, Chamoli disaster was human-induced

UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2021 12:15 PM IST
Stone quarrying, blasting of mountains and digging of tunnels in the base of the mountain system for two dams on Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers played havoc with the local ecology
Close
In this file photo, a man hangs on to pole holding a Sikh religious flag along with a farm union flag at the historic Red Fort monument during a farmers protest against new farm laws in New Delhi(AP)
In this file photo, a man hangs on to pole holding a Sikh religious flag along with a farm union flag at the historic Red Fort monument during a farmers protest against new farm laws in New Delhi(AP)

Perception is the truth in information warfare over farm laws

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi, Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2021 01:42 PM IST
  • The Chinese were among the first to recognise the role of information warfare to weaken the adversary from within
Close
Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman. (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)
Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman. (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)

A new confidence about India reflects in a bold Budget 2021

By Monika Halan
UPDATED ON FEB 01, 2021 09:59 PM IST
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has chosen to spend on generating future income using the higher capital spending, which has gone up by 35.4% over the previous year
Close
Shaibal Gupta also made a pioneering contribution in explaining the historical roots and the evolution of Bihar’s politics, which have today become the staple of everyday political analysis. (FACEBOOK)
Shaibal Gupta also made a pioneering contribution in explaining the historical roots and the evolution of Bihar’s politics, which have today become the staple of everyday political analysis. (FACEBOOK)

The life and times of a Patna intellectual

UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2021 06:20 AM IST
Shaibal Gupta was rooted and cosmopolitan; idealistic and pragmatic; and an insider and outsider — all at the same time. Patna’s public life will not the same without him.
Close
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's address on India-China ties is a reminder to Beijing that the bilateral relationship between the two Asian powers is not a one-way street.(AP/File)
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's address on India-China ties is a reminder to Beijing that the bilateral relationship between the two Asian powers is not a one-way street.(AP/File)

Jaishankar yellow-cards China for violating pacts, spells out the India way

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2021 03:02 PM IST
  • S Jaishankar’s speech on India-China ties signals India’s determination to continue to stand up to Xi Jinping’s expansionist plans for Asia as an equal and makes it clear that nothing that Beijing does against India will be overlooked, or allowed to go unpunished.
Close
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, in Chiba, Japan, June 18, 2015 (REUTERS)
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, in Chiba, Japan, June 18, 2015 (REUTERS)

Jack Ma story: China’s deep strategic ambition

By Manoj Kewalramani
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2021 04:50 AM IST
This statist vision of the future is very different from the government creating a level-playing field for private capital to compete and the market to do its job. It is about the State guiding capital and private entities towards what it believes are national strategic priorities, rather than allowing them to simply focus on generating greater revenue.
Close
A Nihang Sikh aboard a horse inside Red Fort on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
A Nihang Sikh aboard a horse inside Red Fort on Tuesday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

Republic Day raid was pre-meditated, planned well in advance

UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:17 PM IST
With Delhi Police under firm orders not to open fire, the armed Nihang Sikhs provided the cover for the tractors to roll towards Red Fort.
Close
A video of an unruly tractor moving waywardly towards police personnel at ITO emerged on Tuesday as farmers protesting against farm laws deviated from their route and moved inside the Capital.
A video of an unruly tractor moving waywardly towards police personnel at ITO emerged on Tuesday as farmers protesting against farm laws deviated from their route and moved inside the Capital.

How unruly farmers tried to embarrass India on Republic Day

UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 02:09 PM IST
The tractor-borne unruly farmers were minutes away from India Gate when they were blocked by New Delhi Range police.
Close
How do we address this cyclical pattern of hailing and rubbishing financiers? It is time for an honest review of the entire issue (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
How do we address this cyclical pattern of hailing and rubbishing financiers? It is time for an honest review of the entire issue (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The policy landscape around digital and physical micro-lending

By Amol Agrawal
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:08 AM IST
In 1870s, a similar backlash emerged in Poona and Ahmednagar districts of the Bombay presidency. The agriculture boom in the early 1860s led farmers to take loans from moneylenders
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP