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New Delhi  : Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on October 16, 2019, launched the ‘Food Safety Mitra (FSM)’ scheme along with the ‘Eat Right Jacket’ and ‘Eat Right Jhola’ to strengthen food safety administration and scale up the ‘Eat Right India’ movement at the function to commemorate World Food Day 2019, here.

“By motivating key players in the system who can reach out to people at large, we can reach out to each and every individual. We have to include every section of the society so that Eat Right India becomes a country wide movement,” Dr Vardhan said.

Dr Vardhan emphasised that the Eat Right India movement is a crucial trigger for the much needed social and behavioural change. This campaign along with the ‘Fit India’ Movement’ can achieve huge success if the right strategy is adopted and efforts are made to reach out to every section of the society. He stated that people should adopt Gandhiji’s messages of eating less, eating safe and healthy food, and also reduce wastage of food while developing the habit of sharing surplus food.

Citing the example of polio to highlight multi-sectoral approach, Dr Vardhan stated,  “All of us have to take up this responsibility in our own capacities. I believe that together we will be able to develop new approaches to combat challenges to health and society,” he added. Highlighting the critical importance of a Jan Andolan on issues around food safety, Dr Vardhan said that small positive actions can be performed by individuals or organisations to strengthen the cause of food safety, according to a PIB release.

The ‘Food Safety Mitra’ scheme will support small and medium scale food businesses to comply with the food safety laws and facilitate licensing and registration, hygiene ratings and training. Apart from strengthening food safety, this scheme would also create new employment opportunities for youth, particularly with food and nutrition background.

The FSMs would undergo training and certification by FSSAI to do their work and get paid by food businesses for their services. The first batch of 15 FSMs were awarded certificates on October 16, 2019.

The ‘Eat Right Jacket’will be used by the field staff. This jacket has a smart design to hold tech devices like tablets/smart phone, a QR code and RFID tag for identification and tracking. Apart from providing safety to field staff on duty, this would bring in efficiency, professionalism and transparency in food safety administration and bring in a sense of ownership and visibility of FSOs.

The ‘Eat Right Jhola’, a reusable cloth bag, shall replace plastic bags for grocery shopping in various retail chains. Since on repeated use, bags are often contaminated with microorganisms and bacteria, proper and regular washing of cloth bags is essential to ensure safety and hygiene. These cloth bags are being provided on rental basis through a private textile rental service company.

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