Safe food is our right

Food safety and security is the responsibility of us all
Representational Image
Representational ImageSource: silviarita from Pixabay

Is it helping us to survive or is it threatening our existence. Everyone is worried about the problem of food adulteration that has taken a heavy toll on our health. Everything from milk, fruits, vegetables, poultry, mutton and fish to bakery, processed food and fancy meals are contaminated and adulterated. If we talk of agricultural produce, it is par excellence in quantity and variety but we have lost the quality in this race of greater yield. It is obvious whenever our motive become quantity, quality is compromised. Our fruit growers successfully reap turnover worth lakhs but the harsh pesticides, fertilizers and artificial ripening agents they use make the crop unfit for health. Instead of doing good, such fruits and vegetables are harming our heath. They are attractive in size and colour but tasteless. Even the spices we use in cooking are not free from adulteration; and the result is sky rocketing increase in cases of diabetes, cholesterol, coronary heart diseases, cancer, stomach and renal ailments.

Everyone is playing with our health be it a farmer in field, chef in a restaurant, workers involved in food processing and packaging units, or those preparing so called delicious bakery and confectionary or those running sheep and poultry farms or those selling snacks. And unfortunately we are silently watching all this and letting them play with our health. Mutton and poultry we eat for good health are making us prey to zoonotic diseases (diseases that spread from animals to humans); sheep and poultry birds are not vaccinated properly, are given substandard and harmful feed and are provided growth promoters which are harmful for humans and cause various diseases. Packaged food manufacturers add concentrated preservatives and trans fat to foods to increase shelf life which is harming us.

Restaurants and hotels where we go for happy meals are also adversely affecting our health. They make use of taste enhancers like monosodium glutamate which adds flavour and taste to food but makes it harmful to health. It can cause irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ailments, thyroid and obesity etc. Artificial food colouring is also harmful for health. Parents should stop kids and youngsters from daily intake of restaurant foods or else they should be ready to see their children becoming sick. Junk food addiction and restaurant food heavy intake is a leading cause of dchildhood diabetes, obesity , thyroid and PCODs among young females.

Once we had a guest who is a fruit grower and we served him juice but he refused to drink, and said I know what it is made from. Do you know all our rotten and substandard crop is taken up by your esteemed juice and jam factories on marginal rates. In many bakery centres containers are left without lids, no gloves are used while preparing bakery, dirty and rusty trays are used for baking; substandard material including expired bread and artificial sweeteners are used; making bakery a sweet poison.

Now the point is whose business is food safety and security. Who should take initiative. Will celebrating 7th June as world food day suffice? Well, food safety and security is our business. It is everyone’s responsibility not only of the WHO or food safety and security department. You and me as responsible citizens have the duty to see who’s playing with our health. If you see any snack seller preparing snacks in a substandard oil or with dirty hands you have to speak; you have to boycott and if still things don’t change contact the food dept; involve media. Please be an honest fruit grower. It is your responsibility to take care of the health of people; stop using harmful artificial ripening agents like ethepon and excess pesticides. Your turnover will be somewhat less but you will have the blessings of Almighty; why we lose our crops to hails, wild attacks or lockdowns because we have become selfish and materialistic. We are using cheap tactics for revenue generation and we then pay for it. It is my request to everyone involved in food growing, processing, packaging, selling and storing that please don’t play with precious human lives. It is my request to food safety and security department, realise your purpose and make checking squads active in market round the year not only on occasions like Eid. Act tough on those who play with health of people, and act tough on those who take bribe from violators. Make sure that FSSAI (Food Standards and Safety Authority of India) guidelines are applied rather than just kept on websites. Dear all, beware of what you eat, be concerned about your health before it is too late. Having access to safe and healthy food is our right. Let's fight for it. Together we can change the world.

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