Maharashtra to mandate mention of calorie count in menus, says Darade
Maharashtra is planning to introduce a unique scheme soon, under which all the restaurants will be mandated to mention calorie count of the food they serve, alongside the cost they mention in their menu.
This was stated by Pallavi Darade, commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Maharashtra, at the Conclave on Refrigerated and Frozen Foods organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“Under the new scheme, which is perhaps unique in the country, we are planning to ask hotels and restaurants to mention calories count of the food they serve. This will enable the consumer to take an informed decision while choosing the food, and not ending up with diabetes and hypertension,” she added.
HFSS (high fat, salt and sugar) food has direct relation to obesity, to hypertension, to diabetes, and to cardiovascular/heart diseases.
“That is the reason why we want to control high calories food. If these are consumed, say once a month, twice a month or once in two months, it will reduce the risk of these diseases substantially,” Darade said.
“Of course, the policy, which is under consideration of the government now, has to be passed by the Government of Maharashtra,” she added.
Under the policy, high-end five star hotels and leading restaurants chains, which have the capability of declaring these things, will be asked to do this to start with, followed by hotels smaller in size like three-stars, two-star hotels etc.
Eat Right Maharashtra
Taking cue from Eat Right India launched by the Centre, Maharashtra has also launched the Eat Right Maharashtra campaign in the state.
On the recent World Food Day, Maharashtra FDA launched a scheme to study status of health of children in 20 schools.
“We were shocked to find that 30 per cent of the students are suffering from diabetes or hypertension, and identified that the food served in their school canteen was to be blamed for this,” Darade said.
“Later we have developed a food pyramid and suggested the best food the school canteens can serve,” she added. Even among adolescent children every third or fourth child is obese.
“We are in the process of implementing the new diet scheme in 500-600 schools having canteens in their premises across the state,” Darade said.
Speaking about the FDA Food project, she added, “It was launched on World Food Safety Day (June 7, 2019), and aimed at trying to change the menus of the school and college canteens and explaining the food pyramid. The major emphasis is on safety and sanitation in Maharashtra.”
Darade said, “Maharashtra FDA are the action makers and few of our recent project include the Eat Right Movement and Clean Street Hub. Also, hotels and restaurants should mention the calorie count in food menu.We need to change with the Eat Right Movement, which is happening in Maharashtra.”
“The Food Safety Management System laid by FSSAI, which provides guidelines to each and every food sector, and it is amended based on the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, which was implemented on January 1, 2019,” she added.
In case of the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme, the food served there is decided based on hygiene and other parameters already. Recently, FDA has felicitated 25-30 schools and colleges where the menu has been changed based on its suggestion.
Report on frozen food
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report, titled Indian Frozen Food Industry – Focus Maharashtra and released at the conclave predicted double-digit CAGR growth for the industry in India in future, as against the over $300 billon industry globally growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5-6 per cent.
Frozen food categories such as frozen vegetables and fruits, meat, fish and marine produce, ready meals, soups and appetisers provide an opportunity for domestic consumption.
Darade said, “India being global food basket we need the maintain the dignity, rise of number of working women, access to social media and accepted consumption of frozen food, I believe there is a bright future for frozen food market.”
Stating that cold chains have the potential to double the incomes of farmers as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, B Thiagarajan, co-chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture and managing director, Blue Star Ltd, said, that the efforts to provide cold chain-based forward and backward linkages to the farmers have already started paying off in the form of higher incomes for them.
Thiagarajan asked the government to promote development of innovative technologies by setting some cost- and environment-based benchmarks above the conventional technologies for the same.
“Most frozen foods do not have any preservatives or shelf-life extenders as is perceived generally, and can be part of a healthy diet for everyone. Awareness has to be created about this at the national level,” Arabind Das, convenor, CII National Committee on Allied Sector in Agriculture and former chief operating officer, Godrej Tyson Foods Ltd.
Kashmira Mewawala, chairman, CII Maharashtra State Council and head, business development and chief ethics counsellor, Tata Capital, said that it was predicted that the frozen foods industry was expected to grow at the rate of 17 per cent to $188 billion by 2024.
Pankaj Mehta, managing director, Carrier Transicold India and South Asia, said, “As per the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), the state has seen an rapid development of cold chain infrastructure for perishables. In the recent years, over 50 cold chain projects have been sanctioned under the SAMPADA scheme of MoFPI.”
The conclave also conducted panel discussions on Innovation and Disruption in the Frozen Food Market in India: Changing times and Technology and innovation – Disruptive Food Tech Innovation Driving Frozen Food Consumption in India.
Source : fnbnews