Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said that the current pandemic has drawn everyone's attention to the key issue of food security and creating awareness on the impact of nutritious and clean food on immunity.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said that the current pandemic has drawn everyone’s attention to the key issue of food security and creating awareness on the impact of nutritious and clean food on immunity. In today’s fast-paced life, it is important to have a healthy and nutritious diet to fight diseases in order to maintain good immunity. And every step of the food chain should make an effort to keep food safe and healthy, he said.
“Although coronavirus does not spread through food, the current global pandemic has drawn our attention to issues related to food security such as sanitation, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, etc,” Tomar said while addressing a virtual event organised by PHD Chambers of Commerce on the occasion of World Food Safety Day. The minister also said that it has become more important for every citizen to understand and create awareness about impact of nutritious and safe food on the immune system.
Stating that there are concerns about climate change not only in India but across the world because of its impact on agriculture, the minister said an absence of a holistic-balanced specific policy on food security can have a negative impact on the economy of any society or country. The minister further said the government is well aware of the importance of nutrition for the development and welfare of the society.
Highlighting steps taken to ensure food and nutrition security in the country, Tomar said the government has introduced mid-day meals in schools, providing ration to pregnant and lactating mothers through Anganwadis and Public Distribution System to the poorest of the poor. The government has also launched the POSHAN Abhiyaan with an aim to make India malnutrition free. The government has spent about Rs 15,000 crore in the year 2020-21 on nutrition related schemes / programmes to prevent malnutrition, underdevelopment and wastage in childhood.
The government is taking measures in agriculture and food processing sectors to bridge nutritional gaps. Tomar noted that in the last few years, there has been a lot of progress in improving the livelihood of the vulnerable people due to the economic progress and strength of India, and the standard of living of the people is rising. On safe food, the minister mentioned COVID-19 has made governments, distribution systems and consumers aware of the prevention, detection and proper management of foodborne diseases.
Any adverse food safety accident can have a global negative impact on public health, business and the economy, he said. Stating that the global level of food-borne diseases is extremely dangerous and affects people of all ages, especially children under the age of 5 and the lower class, Tomar said World Health Organisation (WHO) says that one out of every 10 people in the world fall sick after eating contaminated food and 4.5 millions of people die every year.
Diarrhea is the most common disease caused by the consumption of contaminated food, which makes 550 million people sick every year and causes more than 2.5 million deaths, he said. Further, the minister said that the United Nations General Assembly declared June 7 as World Food Safety Day in the year 2018 and is happy that the work to strengthen food security efforts is being continued.