Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday presided over an event to celebrate ‘World Food Day’ and talked of the government’s efforts towards making the country trans fat-free.

The event was organized by FSSAI. The minister said that due to the unprecedented challenges faced by the world on account of the pandemic, there has been a renewed focus on food, nutrition, health, immunity, and sustainability.
He added “FSSAI’s `Eat Right India’ movement targets to promote safe and healthy food for everyone in an environmentally sustainable way.

“It is a part of its mandate to provide safe and wholesome food for all citizens. This will improve the food safety ecosystems and lift the hygiene and health of our citizens,” he said. An official release said the key focus this year is the elimination of trans fats from the food supply chain. The minister said that trans fat is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). “Eliminating CVD risk factor is especially relevant during COVID-19 as people with CVD are predisposed to have serious conditions having an impact on mortality,” Harsh Vardhan said.

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The release said he reminded everyone of the government’s effort to make India trans fat-free by 2022, a year ahead of WHO’s target, in synergy with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a New India on 75 years of the country’s independence.

It said trans fat is a major contributor to the rise in non-communicable diseases in India and is a food toxin present in Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (PHVOs) (for example vanaspati, shortening, margarine, etc.), baked and fried foods.

Reiterating the game-changing potential of ‘Eat Right India’ and ‘Fit India Movement’, Harsh Vardhan said, “these two movements along with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission and other efforts of the Environment Ministry will improve the health of Indians and heal the environment.”

He launched the Eat Right Creativity Challenge for schools which is a poster and photography competition and aims to promote healthy dietary habits. He also launched the ‘Eat Smart City’ (challenge) by FSSAI in partnership with Smart City Mission and The Food Foundation, UK which will create an environment of right food practices and habits in India’s smart cities and can set an example for other cities to follow. He also launched a number of books/guidelines on the occasion.

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