‘You are What you Eat’ is a common phrase used in our daily lives. Most of the people are mindful of what they eat, but at times, it becomes unavoidable due to lack of awareness, knowledge about nutrients.
Food is the source of energy, the source of all vitamins and minerals that our body requires to function well and stay healthy. Unfortunately, it is now the source of all diseases. We are living in a time when we consume food with fear and anxiety. It is not access to food that is a matter of concern; how hygienic and safe is the food we consume every day is a matter of concern. The vegetables, the milk, wheat flour, rice – everything is toxic. How do we minimize the risk?
Since the Corona pandemic struck the world, everybody is taking extra precaution when bringing vegetables home. Some people wash it with water for good 10-15 minutes. Some others dip it in baking soda to get rid of its pesticides.
Food adulteration is not new in India. The vegetables and fruits are laden with chemicals and grown in polluted water sources. Milk is nothing but a white compound solution.
I am a vegetarian since birth; my goal is to become a vegan. I have not been able to give up on tea completely, and other milk products, although I avoid direct consumption of milk. I don’t consume Mango, watermelon, because of the fear of the fruits being laden with harmful chemicals.
The pesticide Management Bill 2020 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in March this year, and it seeks to regulate the manufacture, import, sale, storage, distribution, use, and disposal of pesticides, to ensure the availability of safe pesticides and minimize the risk to humans, animals, and environment. The Bill seeks to replace the Insecticides Act, 1968.
The purpose of the Bill is to reduce risk to human beings, animals, living organisms other than pests and the environment.
It empowers central and state government to prohibit the distribution, sale, or use of a pesticide up to a period of one year if – they pose a risk to human health, other living organisms, or the environment, or if they pose a barrier in international trade of agriculture commodities. It also mentions that the central government will constitute the Central Pesticides Board to advise the central and state governments on scientific and technical matters arising under the Act. It will also advise the central government in formulating standards and best practices for: (i) pesticide manufacturers, laboratories, and pest control operators, (ii) working conditions and training of workers, and (iii) recall and disposal of pesticides.
The Bill is silent on Advertisement and promotion of pesticides.
There is no local level to guide farmers about the use of pesticides.
Guidelines to ensure labelling and packaging is missing.
No provision on personal protective equipment for farmers puts their life at risk.
Understanding the intricacies of a bill is difficult for a layman. What matters most is the raw food that is purchased should be free from chemicals.
Fighting for hunger is good but fighting for safe food is better. Everyone deserves safe food. Let us strive to make our food safe.