The burden of foodborne infections on India is high. Double this burden is that of due to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency. In fact, you’d be surprised to know that micronutrient deficiency is equally prevalent in the rich and the poor of the country. Therefore, it’s a great achievement for India that our Eat Right India initiative developed by FSSAI has been recognized by the US-based Rockefeller Foundation for the Food System Vision Prize. This inclusion acknowledges India’s potential and its tendency to become a superpower by the year 2050.
The Rockefeller Foundation received “Better food for better lives” as one of the ten submissions for global recognition. The foundation feels “Your vision inspires. If implemented, it can transform. It feels lofty yet feasible-audacious yet vital. It can reveal a path moving forward to a nourishing, resilient, sustainable, and equitable food system for 2050, if not well before.”
The Eat Right India initiative is about promoting the consumption of healthier diets. It will use a system-based approach to reduce food waste, increase access to healthier food choices, and help improve hygiene and sanitation. It is indeed a game-changer. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Food System Vision Prize is an initiative to encourage holistic, creative, and positive ideas for the future. You can only implement it if you have a positive vision in your mind.
India’s food system has improved significantly over the past few years. But we still consume 10% lesser calories than the rest of the world. Also, studies suggest that our diet is deficient in protein and micronutrients such as iron. Our country witnesses nearly 500,000 deaths every year due to malnutrition. But we do have the power to change our future. Eat Right India mission believes that food should serve your body, mind, and soul. It should also be good for the environment. That’s why this initiative is a collective approach to move towards a healthier and more sustainable future.
The Eat Right India initiative is based on five concrete actions. These actions are-safe personal and overall hygiene, promoting hygienic sanitation practices through the supply chain, reducing toxins and other harmful chemicals in food, combating adulteration, and controlling food hazards in areas of food production and management. There are two other concepts of the Eat Right India initiative-healthy diet and sustainable diet. A healthy diet consists of promoting the consumption of a balanced diet, eating meals on time, reducing trans fat consumption, reducing the consumption of saturated fat, sugar, and salt, and promoting solutions to micronutrient deficiencies. Sustainable diet, on the other hand, focuses on promoting local or seasonal foods, reducing food wastes, promoting water conservation during food production and management, and encouraging the use of safer and environmentally friendly packaging.
The aspects of a healthy diet and sustainable diet of the Eat Right India initiative increased public trust in government-run food programs and also improved the safety and quality of food. The initiative further aims to earn certification of clean street food hubs, the safety of food served in religious locations, fruits and vegetable markets, and the hygiene rating of local sweet shops.
The recognition by the Rockefeller Foundation is going to take the Eat Right India initiative to new heights. It’s expected that the program will be able to garner attention from the United Nations during the 2021 Food System Summit. The importance of eating right and following the paths of a healthy diet and a sustainable diet has never been more crucial for India. It is the perfect time to push forward the forces behind this movement so that it can realize its full potential.