Rats healthier than an average Indian

MEAL FOR MICE: Rodents gobble up large portions of food grains in warehouses. — PHOTO: M.A. SRiRAM

MEAL FOR MICE: Rodents gobble up large portions of food grains in warehouses. — PHOTO: M.A. SRiRAM  

Renowned food scientist and former Director of Central Food Technological Research Institute H.A.B. Parpia has called for effective food storage measures to prevent losses and ensure food for all.

Promoting food loss prevention measures indefatigably since the last 55 years, Dr. Parpia underlined its imperatives if nutritional security for all as envisaged by the government is to become a reality.

In an interaction with The Hindu, Dr. Parpia, who was also associated with the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, said: “Six rats eat the food of one man and an average rat in the country is more nutritionally healthy than an average Indian.” He pointed out that food loss during the post- harvest stage was 30 per cent to 35 per cent while the loss of perishable products was 50 per cent. “Food saved is equal to food produced and water conserved,” he said.

Dr. Parpia referred to the reports of food loss due to poor storage conditions making waves across the country and said it may be an “eye-opener” for many today. But the government was alerted about the problem way back in 1956 about rats eating away the food stored in warehouses. “If the problem persists after the warning was issued more than five decades ago and reminded constantly, it only means that the government is not serious in shoring up the storage facilities to keep up with the expanding production,” said Dr. Paripa.


Taking a dim view of those advocating second “Green Revolution” to double food production, Dr. Parpia said they are divorced from the field realities of declining agricultural yield and depleting water resources. “Greater the food production, greater the food loss unless measures were in place to them in the first place,” he said.

  • Food loss during post harvest stage is about 35 p.c.
  • Government alerted in 1956 about rats invading warehouses

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