Union Health Minister chairs first roundtable on food safety & nutrition and releases framework for ‘Clean Street Food Hubs’ and ‘Safe and Hygienic Food Festivals’

Shri J. P. Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, presided over the first Health Ministers Roundtable on Food Safety & Nutrition, organized by FSSAI on January 9, 2018. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (Health) along with the Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Puducherry, Jharkhand and Delhi were also present at the roundtable. Addressing the meeting, Health Minister said,’ Central Government is providing support to the tune of Rs. 482 crore for the States. As many as 45 State labs are to be strengthened. I request the States to come forward with the proposals or give us the plan for strengthening the laboratories’.

Shri J. P. Nadda went on to say that finance will not be a constraint and each state should have at least one government food laboratory of high quality with bigger states having at least two. Detailing about Pradhan Mantri Dialysis Program, the Health Minister informed that initially states expressed some apprehensions about this initiative however today the programme is a huge success. “More than 1.76 lakhs patients have availed free services from 539 Dialysis Units across the country, Shri J P Nadda added. Talking about fairness and transparency in enforcement of the programme, he urged to ensure that all food businesses must be licensed and follow standards for the safety of public.

Shree Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (Health), stated that promoting and building the mechanisms for availability and consumption of Safe & Nutritious Food is central to attainment of the goals laid out in the National Health Policy 2017 which focuses on “promotive and preventive health care” and targets to reduce disease burden and premature mortality through Non-Communicable Disease like Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases among others. Smt Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health) assured support to the states through NHM. She further stated that we all aware of the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases in our country. Promoting healthy dietary habits amongst citizens is a key step to address it.

The Union Health Minister also released framework for ‘Clean Street Food Hubs’ and ‘Safe and Hygienic Food Festivals’. These two initiatives would help to build capacities of street food vendors and will go a long way to inspire citizens’ trust in unorganized street food vending. The Minister also released FSSAI’s ‘Healthy India Food Calendar’. First of its kind, this calendar covers India’s main festivals, the food associated with them and their nutritional benefits. FSSAI’s new look website with focus on its key stakeholders was also launched today.

Also present at the Roundtable were State Health Secretaries and Food Safety Commissioners from the States, senior officials from Ministry of HRD, Health and Family Welfare and Women and Child Development, FSSAI, industry associations, World Bank, WHO and World Food Programme, and development partners such as Tata Trusts, GAIN and PATH participated.