11 Tea Estates from the North East region have now joined the Eat Right Campus Certification Programme in alignment with the Eat Right India vision. A felicitation ceremony was organised by the FSSAI Eastern and North Eastern Region office in Dibrugarh District Planters Club, Assam yesterday, in a joint effort with Guwahati and Indian Tea Association (ITA) and GAIN, an international NGO working in the field of nutrition as an implementing partner. Representatives from 11 tea estates namely Balijan North, Bokel, Basmati, Chabua, Dikom, Kharjan, Namroop, Nahorkutia, Nahortoli, Nokhroy and Sealkootee were felicitated during the ceremony.
Led by FSSAI, Eat Right India is identified as a national movement for ensuring safe, healthy and sustainable food for all citizens of our nation. This movement has been launched to protect the health of people and the planet by transforming the food ecosystem of the country. It encompasses a bouquet of initiatives that targets food businesses through capacity building and self-compliance and nudge consumers to make the right food choices.
Under the ambit of Eat Right India, the Eat Right Campus initiative aims at safe, healthy and nourishing food in campuses such as universities, colleges, institutes, workplaces, hospitals, tea estates, jails, hotels (only cafeteria for staff) and Anganwadi centres across the country. The objective is to improve the health of people and the planet and promote the social and economic development of the nation. The Eat Right Campus certification recognizes the efforts of the campus towards ensuring the health of employees, adds prestige and brand value to its name and enables it to inspire others to adopt these best practices. In particular, it provides a unique opportunity for workplaces to showcase their efforts around employee health and wellbeing.
With Eat Right Campus certification, these 11 tea estates now ensure better food safety and hygiene standards of food handling establishments operating in the region, awareness amongst tea workers around safe, healthy and nourishing diets in the long run by improving behavioural aspects for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy food culture for people in these premises.
The certification process involved training and awareness session for food handlers, estates management, along with awareness sessions for the worker communities. Basis benchmarks identified by FSSAI in the form of a detailed checklist, an elaborative exercise was conducted to arrive at the implementation based on gap analysis conducted in series of pre-audits. The estates were finally audited by a third-party auditing agency, empanelled by FSSAI for compliance with standards achieved over a protractive period of one year. The standards achieved were found to be far excellent in spite of challenges in the region, COVID-19 pandemic, and production loss for the tea estates.
CEO FSSAI, Arun Singhal congratulated all the campuses and highlighted that FSSAI is gearing up to scale up its ‘Eat Right Campus’ programme over the next two years, with an aim of promoting healthy and safe food across corporate offices, hospitals, government offices and tea estates. Singhal said that the food available on any campus should be safe and healthy, given that diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases are rising at an alarming rate. He further mentioned that FSSAI is now engaging States/UTs to liaison with local campuses for enrolment and this will expect this initiative to grow exponentially in the coming years from a total of over 75 campuses existing currently across the country.