Street vendors need proper skills for safer food: Paswan

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Millions of street food vendors across India should be imparted proper skills to ensure hygiene so that people’s health does not suffer, union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday.

The minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution launched the ‘Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan’, a nationwide campaign for awareness on food safety, particularly among street food vendors.

Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘Skill India’, which aims at developing skills among the people, Paswan said: “It is important to develop skills even among street vendors to ensure that there is hygiene and no adulteration in food.”

“Food-borne diseases which have severe health and economic consequences, both in developed and developing countries can be prevented by food safety practices only,” he added.

Launching the campaign’s website and logo, he said: “Food safety is an inseparable part of food security and no nation can guarantee food security if food in not completely safe.”

He said there can be no compromise over food safety.

From the president to a working class person, consumers comprise everyone, and hence there needs to be more emphasis on food safety and cleanliness, Paswan said.

The campaign, planned by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), National Association of Street Vendors of India and other consumer organisations, aims to create awareness on safe food across the country.

The initiative complements campaigns under the ministry like ‘Jago Grahak Jago’, for consumer awareness, the minister added.

For a street vendor who works for daily wages, livelihood was more important than quality of food, and therefore there needs to be more awareness among people, not just the educated class, about hygienic food and health, Paswan said.

The minister said the government will extend cooperation and support for infrastructure of the street food vendors.

At the initial stage, the campaign aims to target the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and a few two-tier cities.

Nationwide sensitisation sessions on cleaning, hygiene and sanitation for safe food, walkathons and media dissemination programmes for consumers and the street food industry would be organised.

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