Pawan Agarwal, chief executive of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, said that the tiny western state’s small population would allow authorities to make headway in changing the food habits of its residents.
"Goa is already doing quite well in terms of health; it can also become a model for other states in food safety measures," said Agarwal.
The FSSAI has chosen Goa’s food and drugs administration to to pilot three food safety initiatives in the state.
“The initiative is planned to connect with citizens in multiple ways for creating food safety culture,” said Salim Veljee, director of the state FDA.
Under it, the FSSAI will provide in-house training to Goa FDA enforcement officials, who will collaborate with consumers and other agencies conduct state-wide programmes at homes and in schools and restaurants to promote a culture of safe and nutritious food consumption.
Backers of the initiative aim to provide every Goan household with a handbook on healthy diets and food safety. It will also provide a web-based platform were housewives can share their experiences online.
FSSAI-trained food safety supervisors will also inspect Goan restaurants for hygiene standards, giving each one a publicly visible food-safety rating.
Meanwhile, the state’s agriculture department has launched a scheme to encourage farmers to work with organic inputs in a bid to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
"This is the first step we have taken in the direction of organic farming in the state. Hopefully, more and more farmers should adopt the practice of organic farming after availing this scheme." said Goa’s agriculture head, Ulhas Pai Kakode.
Under the scheme, vermi-compost, mushroom waste and neem cake, as well as bio-fertilizers such as rhizobium, azotobacter and azospirillium, will be made available for farmers.
The state government will also offer assistance towards the cost of organic materials for farmers by giving subsidies of up to Rs20,000 (US$300) for two hectare per beneficiary.