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CRUSHING ADULTERATION

“World Food Safety Day, observed annually on June 7, highlights the critical importance of food safety in public health and sustainable development. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, this day draws attention to the health consequences of contaminated food and water and promotes global efforts to improve food safety.

Food adulteration poses a significant risk to public health and safety. It involves the addition of inferior, harmful, or unauthorized substances to food products, either intentionally or unintentionally. This practice undermines the quality and nutritional value of food, leading to serious health consequences for consumers.

Keeping in mind the health of the people of the state, Rajasthan government has been taking concrete steps to curb this issue in State for quite some time. From announcing rewards on information regarding food adulteration, to operations like ‘Shuddh k Liye Yuddh’ and the, currently ongoing ‘Shuddh Ahar-Milawat par war’, the state health department is constantly trying to tighten the noose on substandard and adulterated food items. The department has seized huge caches of adulterated ghee, oil, spices and other products in various operations recently. It has also taken prompt action on several renowned eateries and brands upon receiving complaints. This shows the state government’s commitment towards providing quality nutrition to the residents of Rajasthan.

RAJASTHAN TOPS IN PREVENTING FOOD ADULTERATION

Rajasthan has secured first position in the country in preventing food adulteration. The state collected nearly three times more samples than the targets set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Additional Chief Secretary of Medical and Health Department Shubhra Singh said that an intensive campaign is being run against adulteration of food in the state.

In the data released by the FSSAI for 2023-24, Rajasthan has achieved 284 percent by taking more samples than the set target. Food Safety Commissioner Iqbal Khan said that the FSSAI had set a target of taking five enforcement samples every month for each food safety officer in 2023-24. According to 98 food safety officers in Rajasthan, the target was 5,880 but 16,691 samples were taken in Rajasthan.

WHAT IS FOOD SAFETY?

Food safety refers to the practices and conditions necessary to ensure that food is safe to eat. This involves preventing contamination and food-borne illnesses at every stage of the food supply chain, from production and processing to distribution, storage, and preparation. Food safety aims to protect consumers from health hazards that can arise from microbial pathogens, chemical contaminants, and physical hazards.

Awareness campaigns are a key component of World Food Safety Day, educating the public on food safety issues through social media, websites, and public service announcements. Educational workshops, seminars, and webinars engage stakeholders from agriculture, food production, healthcare, and consumer advocacy to discuss food safety practices and regulations. Collaborations between governments, international organisations, the private sector, and civil society are encouraged to address food safety challenges. Notable partnerships include those between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • Promoting and enforcing food safety standards and regulations is essential. World Food Safety Day supports countries in strengthening their food safety systems through capacity building and technical assistance. Research and innovation are also encouraged, fostering new technologies for improving food safety, including advancements in food testing, traceability, and contamination prevention.
  • Consumer education is another vital aspect, informing individuals about safe food handling practices, such as proper cooking and storage, and providing resources to help them make informed food choices. Food safety inspections and certifi cations ensure compliance with established standards, promoting quality marks that indicate safe food products.
  • World Food Safety Day serves as a reminder of the collective effort required to ensure food remains safe from farm to table. This day encourages governments, producers, and consumers to take actions that secure food safety, benefi ting public health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism, and sustainable development.

Soubhagya Sharma The writer is Senior Sub Editor

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