Safe Food Practices in Rajasthan

Project Background

Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhea to cancers. An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs). Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year. Diarrheal diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, causing 550 million people to fall ill and 230 000 deaths every year.

In India, the burden of food-borne disease is not known. Most food-borne diseases go unreported, only few are reported by the media, usually those with high morbidity and/or occurring in urban areas. However, for food-borne illnesses, passive surveillance systems only represent the tip of the iceberg. Urbanisation and changes in consumer habits, including travel, have increased the number of people buying and eating food prepared in public places. Globalisation has triggered growing consumer demand for a wider variety of foods, resulting in an increasingly complex and longer global food chain.

The current situation of COVID 19 and its spread is also directly linked with unsafe food practices among food handlers. The entire country is facing a serious challenge of nationwide complete lockdown that has come with heavy cost and economic loss to the nation, which is much bigger than investments in the health sector in general and food safety in particular. So the current situation poses a serious question of how to survive from all this threat amidst the unhygienic and unsafe food habits still prevelant in urban as well rural areas within the state of Rajasthan in general.

Project Purpose:

Purpose is to focus on the entire chain of Food Business Operators (FBOs) viz. food retail establishments, food service/ delivery/takeaways, food handlers like women who cooks food at home, small street food vendors, food processors and other handlers especially in the Covid-19 affected areas of the selected districts of Rajasthan and ensure safe food habits and improved hygiene. Campaigns focusing on promoting food safety awareness building, protection from contamination, prevention from COVID 19 and healthy food practices among the community would be carried out.

Project Objectives:

The main objective of the project is to increase the awareness of the rural population about hygienic and clean food. The initiative will aim to create a model of behaviour change communication regarding good food hygiene, preventing food-borne illness, diarrhea and promoting a healthy lifestyle among communities in select gram panchayats in the targeted districts.

Project Details

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is running a national campaign named ‘Eat Right India’. Massive consumer reach is one of its key objectives, but this campaign has not reached up to rural consumers effectively. ‘Eat Healthy’ component includes reducing High Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS), the importance of a balanced diet and physical activity, whereas ‘Eat Safe’ includes safe food practices and food adulteration issues. The project will work on these components and strengthen their impact within the targeted areas.

Campaigns will focus on the entire chain of food business operators, viz. retail food establishments, food service/delivery/takeaways, and food handlers like women who cook food at home, small street food in selected districts. It will also promote food safety awareness building, protection from contamination, prevention from COVID 19 and healthy food practices among the community.

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Contact Us

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS CART)
D 218 A, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Tel: +91 141 228 2823/228 2482, 513 3259
Fax: +91 141 401 5395