SJM opposes mandatorily fortified food

NEW DELHI: The Swadeshi Jagran Manch has opposed mandatory fortification of packaged food. At a meeting of health experts and government officials on Monday, SJM convener Ashwani Mahajan opposed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) recent notification to this effect.

“FSSAI should desist from making fortification in packaged food mandatory as it will favour only few selected multi-national firms. Its current move to encourage fortification of basic food items reeked of interference of foreign-funded NGOs in Indian food systems,” Mahajan alleged.

Fortification involves deliberate increase in content of essential micronutrients in food to improve quality.

FSSAI has been organising awareness camps and making policy change to promote food fortification and address the challenge of micronutrient deficiency.

The draft regulations for fortified food was operationalised in 2016.

States like Haryana supply milk fortified with Vitamin A and D2 and fortified oil already, as per FSSAI standards.

“FSSAI is now keener to please donors and sponsors of their activities which are not directed towards the mandate of the law. Recent notifications of FSSAI on fortification based on 100% imported and synthetic vitamins are harmful to public health as per research reports,” Mahajan claimed.

“It was not even in the mandate but they put it in even then. We fought it during the earlier NDA regime and during the UPA regime and we won both times,” he said, adding that the adoption of ‘excessive refined foods’ based on ‘junk food’ has created imbalance in food that Indians consume.

The RSS-affiliate’s convener said that another major concern was adulteration of food. He asked FSSAI, created to ensure that safe and complete food was available to citizens, not to ‘align with interest of MNCs’.

SJM’s opposition to fortified food is not new. It had opposed the Vajpayee government’s idea to allow only iodised salt. Following SJM’s opposition, India lifted a two-year ban on the sale of non-iodised salt in 2000, ignoring medical opinion and opposition from state governments, after the Swadeshi lobby announced a mock Dandi march.

The Economic Times


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