For a healthy diet, Malappuram district to launch 'Nellikka' project today

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Malappuram: The Malappuram district administration will launch a project called 'Nellikka' today aimed at controlling the use of sugar, salt, oil and artificial colours in food consumed by the people of Malappuram.

District Collector V R Vinod said he found the motivation for the project during his tenure as the State Food Safety Commissioner. The first attempt was made during meetings he organised in his chamber, where the attendees were served sugar-free tea. Later, the district administration decide to expand the initiative throughout Malappuram.

“Malappuram is the leading district in the state when it comes to lifestyle diseases,” Collector Vinod said. “As the Food Safety Commissioner in the state, I could implement the projects of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). There were projects to curb the usage of sugar and salt. When I joined as the district collector of Malappuram, I decided to take a step to curb the usage of sugar and salt and in addition excess oil and artificial colours in food. A book titled 'Pure White and Deadly' also influenced me in conceiving the idea of the 'Nellikka' project,” he said.

As part of the project, hotels in Malappuram will serve snacks cooked in steam along with those prepared in oil. The district administration said it expects the public to gradually adjust to chosing a healthy diet.

“We will also strengthen the enforcement of law in the district regarding food safety. There would be regular inspections in bakeries and restaurants to check whether they are using cooking oils multiple times or adding preservatives or colours more than what is permitted. A proper level of awareness and stringent implementation of law among food providers would help to achieve the aim of the 'Nellikka' project,” Collector Vinod said.

Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association district secretary Raghu Manjeri said: “We cannot force anyone to have food items with less sugar, oil or salt from the hotel. Instead of that, we can create awareness that we are providing a healthy diet for you and you have the option to choose.”

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