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Smart regulation is required to contain the unhealthy food culture: Sunita Narain

Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff |New Delhi

Sunita Narain, Director General , Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has proposed “Smart regulation” to contain the unhealthy food culture which is rapidly spreading its tentacles across the world creating both hunger and at the same time large pool of obese population. Speaking at the inaugural of the ‘Eating India’ symposium here in Delhi, Narain said that the present generation is the most “foolish generation” whose food habits are dictated and designed by tobacco and food companies of the world.

A “social transmutation” has been thrust upon this generation in the name of convenience food, processed food and snack food culture, she said. Narain said that food has become sterile , processed and fast, and the challenge is to bring back the flavour. Food is not about taste, but about nutrition, safety and biodiversity, she said.

The major issue the world facing today is the problem of bad food. Sugar, fat and salt are reasons for obesity. Proposing “smart regulation”, Narain said that the move to contaminate the soil first with pesticides, toxins and antibiotics and then cleaning up would make food expensive. Taking a strong stand against the “expensive” and “elitist” organic food movement, Narain said that there should be conscious steps to conserve bio-diversity to make organic food affordable to common people. If we lose nature, we lose our culture, she said.

‘First Food: Culture of Taste’, a cook book that explores India’s rich food diversity was released at the event.

In his inaugural address, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said that the country is yet to discover and expose its rich and diverse regional food. He spoke on the huge economic dividend the country can harness by exploiting food as a soft power of India to the world. He recollected how Kerala was able to rediscover and expose their soft power in art, culture, architecture, food, etc. and reap tourism dividends.

Riyaaz Amlani, President of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) also spoke on the need to rediscover forgotten recipes to claim a place on the culinary map of the world. He cited the examples of Spain, Copenhagen, etc. which have been able to promote their destinations through food, restaurants and chefs.

Rajiv Kohli, Sr Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) stressed on the “perception” issues related to Indian food among the international travelers. He said that international visitors are still not confident about the hygiene standards of Indian food outside the hotels.

Sanjoo Malhotra and Sourish Bhattacharyya, Founder Directors of Tasting India Symposium also spoke on the occasion.

The three-day symposium will discuss and deliberate various topics like ‘Safe Food Culture,’ ‘Expanding Global Footprint of Indian Cuisines’, “India’s Food Heritage’, etc.

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