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The Union health minister was addressing a function organized by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on first-ever World Food Safety Day in New Delhi on Friday, June 07.

On this occasion, Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Choubey applauded FSSAI’s efforts of building an Eat Right India through peoples’ participation and highlighted the message of ‘Eat Local, Eat Less.

During the event, representatives from Central and State Government, Food Businesses, Higher Education Institutes and NGOs joined hands in propagating the message of safe food habits. Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi on a bicycle which symbolizes Swach Bharat Yatra.

The first-ever World Food Safety Day adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is aimed at creating awareness among the people about food safety.

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This year’s theme is Food Safety, Everyone’s Business. An estimated 600 million cases of foodborne diseases occur annually worldwide. Unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionately affecting vulnerable and marginalised people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict and migrants. In this scenario, food safety has become an impending concern.

Here are a few key highlights from the Union Health Ministers speech:

“In our childhood, we were taught if wealth is lost nothing is lost, if health is lost something is lost, and if character is lost everything is lost. I believe that real wealth is health, we all think about notes and associate it with wealth. But the real wealth is health and character. There are two important things to maintain health: food and physical activity.”

“I appeal to the people to inculcate this message of Mahatma Gandhi, we need to protect our health as much as we can and for that, we need to focus on physical activity and food. We need to eat right, eat less and eat and the right time. Someone rightfully said that our 3.5-inch tongue which has taste buds, for their satisfaction we overeat and dig our own grave early.”

“If we have to make a #NewIndia in accordance with PM Modi’s dream then each person needs a smile to return to their face, their pain and sufferings need to go away, each person must have access to education, health and nutrition. Our caloric intake is at 2,200 kcal which is much below that the intake which is required.”

“It is important to make a few dietary restrictions. Use less salt, use less ghee, use less sugar. Even the unnecessary elements in food need to be removed. Give up on one meal of the day. Eating less or not eating won’t damage your health, but eating too much can have adverse effects.”

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