National Nutrition Week: What Is NOVA Classification Of Food And How It Can Help In Making An Informed Choice?

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Read full article by Aastha Ahuja/Edited by Sonia Bhaskar @BanegaSwasthIndia

National Nutrition Week 2020 India: Public interest groups call to adopt NOVA (means new) classification of foods to reduce the consumption of unhealthy ultra-processed foods

New Delhi: On August 30, in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the importance of a nutritious diet and called for ‘eat nutritious food and stay healthy during the nutrition month’. PM Modi advised citizens to include local food grains in their diet and said, “There are six different seasons in our country, different regions produce diverse crops according to the respective climate. Therefore, it is very important that according to the season of a particular region, a well-balanced and nutrient rich, diet plan should be drafted to include local food grains, fruits and vegetables cultivated there. For example, Millets including coarse grains like Ragi or Finger Millet and Jowar or Sorghum, are very beneficial.

Taking the idea of ‘local food grains’ forward, Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest in India (NAPi), a national think tank and the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) have jointly launched a new campaign in India that aims at reducing the consumption of unhealthy ultra-processed foods by the people of all categories and age groups.

Together, the two groups have called the Ministry of Health and FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) to adopt the NOVA (means new) classification of foods.

NOVA Classification Of Food According To Its Processing

Group 1: Unprocessed Or Minimally Processed Foods

These are real foods like edible parts of plants (seeds, fruits, leaves, stems, roots) or of animals (muscle, eggs, milk). It also includes vegetables and fruits like carrots, potato, onion, banana, and grains (wheat, rice, oats, barley, millets, ragi, corn), raw chicken or nuts. These are eaten as boiled, cooled, pasteurized, roasted, crushed, ground, fermented, fried or frozen. For example, fermenting the milk makes it into yoghurt. These food items are prepared domestically not industrially processed.

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September 5, 2020

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