Fighting to Make Safe Food and Water a Fundamental Right

On the day before World Food Day, a group that is working on healthy food and nutrition has sent an open letter of thanks to agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, asking for his support to ensure that safe drinking water and food an essential right for all citizens of India. World Food Day is observed every year on 16 October, and this year’s theme is sustainable food systems to ensure security and nutrition. ‘”The Global Hunger Index 2011 report placed India 15th out of the nations with a hunger crisis. Around 25 percent of the world’s hungry population lives in India. In comparison, 42 percent of children in India are malnourished, and 18 percent don’t have access to safe drinking water.” stated Rachna Arora from Public Awareness on Genetically Modified Foods.

“Although the World Food Summit and the Millennium Development Goals observe the importance of food, they have failed to recognize access to safe food as a legal right. The Indian government could set a precedence for other developing countries to follow,” said Arora. On 12 October, the group held an anti-government protest against Monsanto India Limited, its associates, and its subsidiaries, urging them to end their operations and businesses in India to stop the unjust promotion of harmful food products. “Consumer interests are not being protected. Genetically modified (GM) organisms are being sold openly without our knowledge. None of the imported processed food products containing GM corn are labeled. What makes it worse is these products like Kelloggs Corn Flakes are made very attractive to children through unethical advertisements,” stated Shalini Venugopal, organizer of the protest.


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