Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Hindu : Today's Paper / NATIONAL : Cereal-based diet for tacklinghunger a “flawed prescription”

SFA in the press...

Safe Food Alliance / Press Release /14th June 2011

Today’s lecture “Critical Reflections on the History of Nutrition Science and Policy” by Veena Shatrugna
National Adviser on Nutrition to the Supreme Court Commissioner on Food Security traced the history
of malnutrition and widespread hunger in India and their correlation to the nature of scientific advances
in this area and how they informed the Nutrition Policy of the country.

Ms. Shatrugna described how the nutrition policy of the 50s and 60s systematically transformed the
diets of the poor in India to plain cereals as the major source, or perhaps the only source of calories,
devoid of any other nutrient. The consequences of this cereal overload, and nutritional depletion have
been far reaching, and are responsible for a large measure of the profile of ill health, and the epidemic
of chronic diseases in India. Much of the policy was based on the dietary habits of the upper caste ,
unsuitable for consumption by physically active people living in drylands and rainfed areas.

Given this situation of widespread hunger Dr. V Suresh, SC Appointed Adviser for TN to the SC Commr.
on Food Security and a co-organizer of the lecture emphasized the importance of Right to Food as a
cornerstone of all government policies and programmes. He sought attention on citizenship of water
and food in the Republic of Hunger that is India, questioning even the unclear numbers we have about
the number of people below poverty line(BPL).

Ananthoo, of Safe Food Alliance spoke about the importance of Safe Food – free of harmful toxic
pesticides and chemicals, and insufficiently tested Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). He also
demanded that the new State government disallow all opne air GM trials within the state of Taminadu
citing more and more proof about the failure of bio safety of GM foods and crops that are coming from
independent sources each day. He highlighted the connection between the three – Right to Food ,
Nutrition and SFA’s demands of Right to Safe food devoid of hazardous chemicals and pescticides in the
food we consume every day.

Ramsubramanian, Safe Food Alliance (SFA) highlighted the need for
a. A Tamil Nadu state government policy on Organic agriculture. Though the state has one of the
largest and oldest Organic farming movements we still lack sufficient government support and
extension services.
b. Say no to GM in the state apart from declaring against open air trials of Genetically Modified
(GM) seeds in the state: recently-released independent analyses of Bt Brinjal that its toxic
effects have shown up in the biosafety studies undertaken by the crop developer.
c. Assurance of Safe Food for consumers and prevent the danger to the Nations food security by
the introduction of untested GM crops.
Genetically modified foods are neither safe for health nor ensure a secure future.

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