Huddle for a cause

A State-Level Huddle themed on ‘Stop Food Waste’ is scheduled to take place on September 29, which is observed as International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste


To raise awareness about the detrimental impact of food waste and encourage individuals, communities, businesses, and industries to adopt sustainable practices, a State-Level Huddle on ‘Stop Food Waste’ will be held on September 29 (on the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration, Bambolim.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (DFDA), Government of Goa; ComePostVille, WICCI – Goa State Food and Nutrition Council, and Goa College of Home Science, Government of Goa.

The competition is open to students and faculty of educational institutes in Goa, NGOs, community organisations, individuals who are concerned about food waste and want to take positive actions, bakeries, restaurants, canteens, event management companies and caterers.

“Goa with a lot of tourists, hotels, restaurants, and educational institutions, generates a lot of food waste. Hence, we looked at International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste as an opportunity to get like-minded stakeholders together in the form of a Huddle,” says Abhinav Apte, the founder of ComePostVille, an initiative for building purpose-driven communities towards sustainability.

And recognising the role that the FDA can play in addressing the problem of food waste generation in the state, ComePostVille decided to collaborate with the FDA. The Goa College of Home Science (GCHS) also, he says, is a primary stakeholder in this initiative as it bears upon itself the responsibility of educating professionals in the field of food and nutrition about food loss and waste. “Along with the Goa State Food and Nutrition Council, Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GCHS envisions this joint enterprise spearheaded by the FDA and ComePostVille as one that will create a difference to the food scenario in the state,” adds Apte.

Through this event, he further says that they are getting various stakeholders dealing with food waste on one platform. As an outcome, they plan to do a food waste audit of the entire state of Goa and set up a Food Waste Helpline. “Each person can play a part in ensuring food is not wasted at home and close monitoring can be done at the workplace. The Huddle will possibly be a platform for idea generation and solutions that will benefit households and commercial establishments,” he says.

A preliminary to the Huddle will be a competition themed ‘Scraps to Scrumptious Snacks’ which aims to make participants think about the various possibilities in which food scraps can be utilised, instead of blindly throwing them away as waste, and document various recipes which can be used as a resource which can then be shared widely.

Besides this, the event will witness technical sessions and a panel discussion on ‘Managing Food Waste – The Way Forward’. Apte says, “The Huddle intends to accentuate the need for preventing food waste at the household, community, commercial, and industrial level, while also seeking viable solutions such as repurposing food and other state-level measures that can be adopted to make Goa SDG 12-compliant.”

Director, DFDA, Jyoti Sardessai says that the FDA’s primary objective is to ensure safe food consumption by everybody. Its mission is also to educate people regarding the same. Another priority of the FDA is to keep in tune with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stopping food loss and waste is one of them. “Other SDGs that the FDA will attempt to meet via this Huddle are -Responsible Consumption and Production, No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, and Partnerships for the Goals,” she says. “The Huddle is therefore an incentive for everybody in the field of food to put on their thinking caps and decide how they can contribute towards repurposing food which can then be an example to others.”

Although preventing food wastage is not a mandate for the FDA, the FSSAI and FDA, says Sardessai, have embraced this initiative to ensure that they can support and create an ecosystem working towards rescuing food wastage.

“In our training workshops to food business operators and consumers, we have been sensitising them on reducing food wastage. We have also asked eateries to voluntarily affix attractive sign boards thereby appealing to the public to eat/serve themselves with only as much food as they want . We also urge our citizens to eat healthy and the right portion size. This will help us in going the long way,” she says.

Sardessai also hopes that professionals and NGOs are able to collaborate and work in synchrony to drive this initiative and also follow the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards (Recovery and Surplus Food) Regulations. “The food loss audit of Goa will help us in reinforcing our future strategies,” she says.

(Interested participants need to register online or can contact 7972779311 or 9822582022)