‘Must safeguard public health by ensuring all food businesses are licensed and follow standards’

During the round table, a team of researchers, who have carried out a rapid assessment of economic costs of food borne diseases in India, shared their findings. According to them, food borne diseases impose a huge economic burden on India. As per their estimates, this would amount to as much as 0.5 per cent of India’s GDP or about 28 billion USD

‘Must safeguard public health by ensuring all food businesses are licensed and follow standards’
J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare

“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.” This was stated by J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare as he presided over the ‘First Health Ministers Roundtable on Food Safety and Nutrition’ organised by FSSAI.

J P Nadda further stated 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.

Citing the example of Pradhan Mantri Dialysis Program, the Health Minister said 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,” Nadda added.

Speaking on the enforcement of food standards, Nadda said that there should be fairness and transparency in enforcement.

“We must safeguard public health by ensuring all food businesses are licensed and follow standards. At the same time, we should be careful that it does not put unnecessary regulatory burden on the food businesses,” he said.

‘Must safeguard public health by ensuring all food businesses are licensed and follow standards’

Emphasising on generating awareness, Nadda said that sensitisation is a major area to work for and FSSAI can provide support in this so that people opt for self-regulation.

Speaking at the function, 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. He further said that carrying out IEC and outreach efforts to create awareness in people about safe food & nutrition at schools, workplace, etc. is central to avoiding food borne disease related morbidity & mortality and consequent savings in healthcare.

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. “We must work together to inspire greater public confidence about food and nudge people to eat safe and eat right so that we can a healthier nation”, she stated.