In order to ensure the availability of healthy food and diet free of adulteration to the residents of Punjab, the Chief Secretary, Ms Vini Mahajan, on Friday announced a slew of measures, including installation of artificial ripening chambers at fruit markets, crackdown against food adulteration, and reduction of sugar, salt and oil in the children’s diet right from the beginning.
Ms Mahajan was chairing a state-level meeting of the advisory committee on safe food and healthy diets, here.
She suggested the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to collaborate with the departments of Women and Child Development, School Education and Food and Public Distribution to provide healthy and safe diets to the children under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS/ MDM).
The Chief Secretary advised the officers to take help from the Police department in catching the people involved in spurious activities of food adulteration.
Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Hussan Lal, suggested using inputs from the Intelligence Wing to catch hold of the food adulterators.
To curtail the rampant malpractice of artificial ripening using Calcium Carbide, Ms Mahajan emphasised on installing artificial ripening chambers at fruit mandis in the state and directed the concerned departments to develop all the required facilities besides educating and sensitising the concerned persons involved in the sale and purchase of fruits about such facilities.
Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Social Security and Women and Child Development, Raji P Srivastava, informed that since anganwadis were closed due to Covid pandemic, the department has been distributing door-to-door dry ingredients to the beneficiaries while the field staff of the department was also sensitising the people to use less sugar, salt and oil while cooking.
Earlier, Commissioner, Food and Drugs Administration, Kumar Rahul, explained the agenda of the meeting, including registration/ licenses of food business operators and special drives conducted by the food safety wing to curb the menace of food adulteration in the state.
He also apprised the committee members of other agenda items including eat right challenge, which was going on in two districts of Amritsar and Ludhiana, periodic surveillance drives conducted by the food safety wing in 2020-21, details of various activities like food safety on wheels being run in different districts of the state. He explained that though the activities like food safety training and certification have been hampered due to Covid pandemic, the online training sessions were being imparted, which will be further intensified in the coming days.
Meanwhile, ACS Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing and Governance Reforms Anirudh Tiwari, Secretary School Education Krishan Kumar, Additional Director General of Police RN Dhoke, Punjab Hotel and Restaurant Association president Amanvir Singh, QA manager Nestle India Ltd Moga Raghu Vakkiyal, and Director Lab, Food and Drugs Administration Ravneet Kaur Sidhu were among other senior officials who attended the meeting.