In case you missed all the drama that went down yesterday, allow us to fill you in. A fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern about wastage of food in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme, Ram Vilas Paswan, minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, announced that the NDA government is planning to fix portion sizes of dishes served by hotels and restaurants.
This announcement was met with outrage on social media, with many saying that this overreach was the last straw in the government’s bid to tighten its grasp over citizens. Now, it turns out that social media had completely misinterpreted what the minister was trying to say. An article in Opindia clarifies the minister’s position: “Where are we saying that you should keep only so much quantity in one portion, we are only saying you should mention the quantity being served in each portion.”
In light of this clarification, the proposal makes a lot more sense, and it might actually prove to be a solution to food wastage. Here’s why we’re going to be rooting for this proposal to become law.
Food Wastage is a Very Real Problem
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually world wide. The same report states that one-third of the total global food produced is wasted, which amounts to a loss of Rs 47 lakh crore! While the issue of food wastage is too big to be tackled by simply restricting the amount of food we order, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Food Wastage is Criminal in a Poor Country Like India
Ah, the old “there’s a starving child in Africa” argument. While it’s definitely a fallacy to say that by eating all that we order we’re alleviating hunger elsewhere, at least we can acknowledge that food wastage in a country as poor as ours is a criminal extravagance. This proposal could help curb how much food is wasted on a per capita basis. And leftover food can always be redistributed through the right channels.
You’ll Never Have to Worry About How Much to Order
If you know how much you’ll be served every time you place an order at a restaurant, it eliminates that familiar sense of worry that you might not have ordered enough for everyone. If this proposal becomes law, your favourite restaurant will have to state how much of that delicious Paneer Butter Masala you can expect in a serving. Order just enough for yourself and whoever you’re with and you’re taking a bite out of food wastage in the long run.
Track What You Eat
At a more personal, lifestyle level, even the most conscientious gym bros like to eat out occasionally. By making the quantities in each dish known, it becomes easier to track your food consumption even when you’re eating at a restaurant. While you’ll probably never be able to know exactly what has gone into your food, you could at least get a close approximation of the calories in a meal consumed outside your house.
This is Just The First Step
Being able to recognise a problem and address it, in whatever capacity, is the first step in fixing said problem. Once we begin to understand the scope of the issue and how best to tackle it, we can begin to look for solutions from across the board. Other countries have already begun to tackle the issue of food wastage on a larger scale, but it didn’t happen overnight. Every major societal change must begin somewhere and this is India’s chance to do her bit to put an end to a problem we can no longer ignore.
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