Jorhat has been included in the list of 150 districts in the country selected by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) to participate in the Eat Right Challenge.

After the selection, the Jorhat district administration has swung into a proactive mode to ensure that the district meets all food safety and hygiene norms of the regulatory body.

Tezpur in Sonitpur district of Assam has also been included in the list.

Briefing newspersons at Jorhat on Tuesday, deputy commissioner Roshni A Korati said the period of participation was from October 2020 to June 2021, but due to the pandemic crisis, many things had not been done.

The DC said samples of food were collected from hotels, eateries and also the SHGs and sent to Guwahati for testing.

“If they meet the FSSAI safety and hygiene norms they can register their products like bamboo shoot or wood apple pickles with the FSSAI which would give them more exposure and acceptability outside the state,” she said.

Posters and stickers listing the hygiene aspects and what comprised healthy food have been put up in strategic locations and pasted on public vehicles.

The rural areas would also be covered through awareness and street plays.

Children of 25 schools in Jorhat district would be enlisted to help in the campaign.

The Jorhat deputy commissioner said tea gardens too would be covered.

Hiten Kalita said from October to December last year,  284 SHGs were registered.

“This is ongoing with samples being sent to the food analyst, State Public Health Laboratory, Guwahati,” he said.

If the food items of hotels and SHGs are found to be substandard, misbranded or unsafe, different actions are initiated.

In case of substandard, the report is sent to the ADC, health and penalties imposed and in case of unsafe, the Chief Judicial Magistrate deals with the case.

The SHGs with less than 12 lakh annual turnover are allowed to register whereas those above are given licences if they meet all safety regulations.

Jorhat suffers from lack of adequate manpower, with only one food safety officer where there should be two.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com