Pune emerged among the 11 districts of Maharashtra that were commended for the “Eat Right” initiative by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Pune Division, said Shivaji Desai, joint commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Tamil Nadu ranked first followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra in the large states category across various food safety criteria in the 2021-22 state index. Shashikant Kikari, Joint Commissioner, FDA, Greater Mumbai told 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 criteria.
FDA Commissioner Parimal Singh received the award from Federal Health Minister Mansukh Mandavia at a recent ceremony.
In Maharashtra as part of the Eat Right Initiative, Pune along with Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Solapur, Wardha, Aurangabad, Latour and Nashik were among the 11 districts praised for their high performance.
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The FSSAI “Eat Right Campus” initiative also aims to promote safe, healthy and sustainable food in universities such as schools, universities, colleges, workplaces and hospitals across the country. In Pune, ‘Eat Right Campus’ status has been granted to several canteens including those in Pune District Complex, Yerwada Prison, Serum Institute of India, YASHADA, among others. Desai said Khau Gallis at JM Road and other locations were also appreciated for its clean street food, while 116 hotels had good reviews on their standards of good hygiene.
These ratings are awarded by the FSSAI based on food licenses, testing facilities, training and work done for the benefit of the consumer. “FSSAI auditors conduct training and standards have been established on how to evaluate campuses. For example, there should be less salt, less sugar, less oils, and canteens should have sanitary conditions,” added Desai.
While Covid restrictions have been lifted, working professionals and students tend to spend most of their time on campus. There are classes or meetings with clients and sometimes there is little time left to eat healthy foods or exercise, according to FSSAI guidelines. Eating safe and healthy food is critical in the context of the growing number of foodborne diseases, micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamins and minerals and non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart-related diseases.