Pune figured among 11 districts in Maharashtra that were commended for their “Eat Right Initiative” by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). From specific khau gallis and canteens at workplaces and campuses of hospitals and educational institutions to over 100 restaurants and several food markets, Pune ranked high in the “Eat Right Initiative”, said Shivaji Desai, Joint Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pune Division.
Tamil Nadu ranked first followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra in the category of large states across various parameters of the Food Safety in the State Index for 2021-22. Shashikant Kekare, Joint Commissioner, FDA, Greater Mumbai told the Indian Express that as part of the FSSAI initiative at least 188 districts across the country participated last year. Of these, 75 were selected for best practices across various parameters.
FDA Commissioner Parimal Singh collected the award from Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya during a ceremony held recently.
In Maharashtra as part of the “Eat Right Initiative”, Pune along with Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Solapur, Wardha, Aurangabad, Latur, and Nashik were among the 11 districts lauded for their high performance.
The FSSAI initiative “Eat Right Campus” also aims at promoting safe, healthy, and sustainable food on campuses such as schools, universities, colleges, workplaces and hospitals across the country. In Pune, the status of “Eat Right Campus” has been accorded to several canteens including those at the Pune district collectorate, Yerwada Jail, Serum Institute of India, YASHADA, and others. The Khau Gallis at J M Road and other locations have also been appreciated for clean street food while 116 hotels have received good ratings on the parameter of good hygiene, said Desai.
These ratings are given by the FSSAI based on food licenses, testing facilities, training and work done in the interest of the consumer. “Auditors of FSSAI conduct training and benchmarks have been created on how campuses are evaluated. For instance, there should be less salt, less sugar, less oil and canteens need to have hygienic conditions,” added Desai.
While Covid restrictions have been lifted, working professionals and students do tend to spend the majority of their time at their campuses. There are classes or client meetings and sometimes there is little time left for eating healthy foods or exercising, according to FSSAI guidelines. Eating safe and healthy food hence is critical in the context of the rising number of food-borne diseases, deficiencies of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals and non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart-related ailments.