Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said the government is committed to ensure health security for every citizen and it is strengthening district hospitals to provide better healthcare facilities. He also emphasised on the role of states in ensuring food safety and healthy food practices, an official statement said.
Mandaviya released Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s 4th State Food Safety Index (SFSI) to measure the performance of states across five parameters of food safety. The index was started from 2018-19 with the aim of creating a competitive and positive change in the food safety ecosystem in the country.
Speaking on the occasion of the World Food Safety Day, Mandaviya highlighted that there has been holistic development in the health sector. The minister said the government is dedicated to ensure health security for every citizen in the country.
For this, he said, the government is focusing on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare fronts with various initiatives like health and wellness centres and strengthening of district hospitals under the National Health Mission. He praised the crucial role FSSAI plays in ensuring healthy and nutritious food to the citizens of the country.
”It is important to note that states have an important role in ensuring food safety and healthy food practices. It is the need of the hour that we come together to ensure a healthy nation,” Mandaviya said. The minister felicitated the winning state/Union Territories based on the ranking for the year 2021-22 for their performance across parameters.
Among the larger states, Tamil Nadu was at the top, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra. Among the smaller states, Goa stood first followed by Manipur and Sikkim. Among UTs, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured first, second and third ranks, respectively.
Mandaviya also felicitated states which showed significant improvement in the State Food Safety Index. To motivate smart cities to develop and execute a plan that supports a healthy, safe and sustainable food environment through adoption of various Eat Right India initiatives, Mandaviya also felicitated 11 winning smart cities of the EatSmart Cities Challenge, launched by FSSAI last year in association with the Smart Cities Mission.
He felicitated winners of the Eat Right Research Challenge for cities and districts and Eat Right Research Awards and Grants. Mandaviya launched various innovative initiatives by FSSAI including the Eat Right Research Awards and Grants Phase II. Eat Right Creativity Challenge Phase III, a competition at the school level and logo for AyurvedaAahar which contains the initials of Ayurveda and Ahara with 5 leaves symbolising five elements of nature.
Further, the minister also released various e-books that advocate and capture innovative recipes about oil-free cooking and sugarless desserts. He also launched various resource books including Khadyanjali, a quarterly magazine published by the Rajbhasha Division of FSSAI; Guidance Document on Food Borne Disease Outbreak Investigation and Microbiological Process Control, Sampling and Testing of Fish and Fishery Products etc.
To prevent burden from food borne diseases and to ensure food safety, Rajesh Bhushan, Union health secretary, said that a multifaceted and multi stakeholder approach involving industries, government machinery, regulators etc. is required and awareness must be created at each level of the society. Arun Singhal, Chief Executive Officer, FSSAI, said that food testing paradigm in the country is being improved in mission mode and memorandum of understandings have been signed with states/UTs to carefully see the food safety implementation in their respective areas. PTI