The Indian Medical Association has decided to form a safe food consortium, with the cooperation of various government departments and voluntary agencies and to make strong interventions in the area of food safety to create awareness among consumers, farmers and manufacturers of food products about what constitutes safe-to-eat food.
At a multi-sectoral workshop held here on Friday, experts from various fields pointed out that the best way to promote food safety was to create awareness among consumers themselves that home-cooked food was the best and to reduce the dependence on processed and packed foods, which invariably contain high levels of salt, sugar and other food additives.
With children often influencing a family’s dietary and food habits, there should be an increased focus on creating awareness among children about the long-term harmful effects of food additives and pesticide residues and that safe food clubs should be promoted through school canteens.
The meeting pointed out that pesticides were not entirely banned but that there were regulations about its use, about which farmers should be educated. Creating awareness among farmers about reducing the use of pesticides and creating a data base about the source of vegetables reaching the State were the most plausible and effective interventions, it was pointed out.
The IMA said it would prepare a set of guidelines about safe food, which would be widely publicised among the public.
IMA State president Sreejith N. Kumar presided over the workshop.
Director of Health Services S. Jayasankar, Thomas Biju Mathew of Kerala Agricultural University, D. Sivakumar, Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety, K. Jayakumar of Thanal and representatives from various government departments and agencies participated in the workshop.