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What to feed the athletes in 2010? Govt puts on its thinking cap

In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics,the Chinese government had monitored food processing units through the Global Positioning System.

Written by Mandakini Gahlot | New Delhi |
February 9, 2009 12:23:21 am

In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics,the Chinese government had monitored food processing units through the Global Positioning System. The purpose was to ensure that the food delivered to visitors and athletes was hygienic and maintained international standards.

For the 2010 Commonwealth Games,the Delhi government may not have that hi-tech a solution,but it intends to reach that goal all the same. To this end,the government has advised the Directorate of Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) to prepare an action plan.

In anticipation of the Games,the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India has already rolled out its “Safe Food,Tasty Food” plan,which aims to upgrade the standard of eateries in Delhi. Sources in the PFA,however,confirmed that the action plan will go further in its bid to introduce “international standards and implement proper guidelines”.

“We have invited agencies with an expertise in this field to provide guidance,” said Mohan Lal,Commissioner of food safety at the PFA. And the qualifying criterion for the agencies is that they should have experience in organising food safety programmes for major sporting events like the Olympics or Cricket world cup.

“In many cases,the food we eat with such ease here may not suit visitors,and we need to take these factors into account,” Lal pointed out. “We also hope to implement the Codex guidelines widely.” The Codex guidelines are framed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation of the United Nations to ensure safe food practices.

Under the draft guidelines for the action plan,the PFA has laid down a variety of objectives.

Among the most interesting is a proposal to introduce “mobile food testing vehicles” which will carry out on-the-spot tests for all contaminants and pathogens. Another suggests forming a “regulating/controlling authority for ensuring food safety in Delhi” in view of the requirements for the Games.

These and other suggestions are laid down in detail in the Expression of Interest invited by the PFA. “It is a set of objectives that we would like the agency chosen to prepare the action plan to follow,” said a senior PFA official.

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