How IIT Gandhinagar became India's first 'Eat Right Campus'
To encourage high standards of food quality, hygiene, and safety in educational institutions, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) last year launched "Eat Right" awards. Under FSSAI's initiative, campuses are required to make eating healthier and safer and provide better nutrition to students. The results were announced this year and IIT-Gandhinagar (IITGN) became one of the first institutions to meet all requirements.
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, had conferred the "Eat Right Campus" award on the Director of IIT Gandhinagar, Professor Sudhir K Jain, earlier on June 7, the World Food Safety Day. Other educational institutions like IIT Roorkee and LBSNAA in Mussoorie were also given the certification. The event was organized by the FSSAI at FDA Bhawan in New Delhi.
Professor Jain, speaking to TheBetterIndia, said, "IITGN subscribes to the philosophy of 'Students First', where...living conditions, food, health, and safety...are all important concerns." "...Since inception, we have placed a great emphasis on hostel food, its quality, nutritional value, and hygiene. FSSAI provided us with a great opportunity to ensure compliance by not just the hostel mess, but...all the eateries on the campus," he added.
IITGN took four measures for right and healthy eating on campus. These include compliance with food safety and healthy diet. The Student Mess Council monthly prepares the menu to include a balanced diet with essential nutrition. All on-campus food joints are required to maintain cleanliness and hygiene and have FSSAI license. It also focused on including local/seasonal foods, fruits, and vegetables, in its menu.
IITGN also took measures for effective food waste management with special emphasis on properly disposing of the kitchen waste. While kitchen waste is converted to manure, used cooking oil is collected by BioDiesel Association of India, and leftover/unused food is distributed to the needy through Robinhood Army. The institute also focused on promoting and creating awareness about food safety, healthy diet, and reducing wastage.
IITGN Student Council's General-Secretary, Lakhan Agrawal, told TheBetterIndia, "...The 'Eat Right Campus' award is well-deserved. The mess and canteens can keep up excellent cleanliness and hygiene and serve healthy food." "Visitors from other institutes, colleges, or IITs appreciate our mess food. With continuous monitoring by the student body and the institute administration, along with frequent surprise checks, this level is being maintained," he added.
Agrawal also said the institute offers excellent facilities at reasonable rates. "As a student, it is most important that these are achieved without additional costs to the student, and we are happy that the rates are very reasonable, despite excellent facilities," he added.