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Modi's 'Mann ki Baat': Now, govt mulls fixing food portions served in restaurants

There was no point in restaurants serving two idlis when a person could eat only four, Ram Vilas Paswan said. (Wikimedia Commons) Photograph: (Others)

WION New Delhi, India Apr 11, 2017, 10.47 AM (IST)

The BJP-led NDA government is preparing to ask high-end restaurants and hotels to specify the portion size of a meal to enable customers order the right amount, Ram Vilas Paswan, minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution said Tuesday.

Asked whether the government wanted to introduce uniformity in the amount of food served in a portion, he said, "We just want them to specify and mention (in the menu card) how much they would serve in a portion."

"We are just asking them to specify how many chapatis or idlis or chicken pieces you will serve (in a plate)," Ram Vilas Paswan told the press outside Parliament.

The federal minister said the hospitality industry would be asked whether it would set the norms "voluntarily" or or needed the government to make legal provisions for it.

He clarified that the government does not fix the quantum of food that needs to be served by hotels and restaurants.

The federal minister has reportedly called a meeting with representatives from the food industry on standardising portions served in restaurants to avoid wastage of food.

He said restaurants would have to give in writing, how much will be served in a portion. There was no point in serving four idlis when a person could eat only two or serving six prawns if a person could eat only two, the minister was quoted as saying.

The ministry is reportedly preparing a questionnaire that asks hotels and restaurants on how much they think they should serve and how much a customer can consume.

The government's initiative comes a week after prime minister Narendra Modi expressed concern about wastage of food in his radio programme "Mann Ki Baat" which airs every month.

"We know that at home and at feasts and social gatherings, we tend to serve ourselves more food than we need. We put each and everything on offer, on our plates, but we fail to finish what we have taken. We can’t even finish half of what is on our plates and then leave it uneaten. Have you ever thought about how much food we waste? Have you ever thought how many poor people can be fed if we don’t thus waste our food?," Modi had said in the Mann Ki Baat radio show.

Ram Vilas Paswan, however, denied that he was inspired by PM Modi's comments on food wastage and said he was acting on his own initiative.

The minister of food and public distribution said he had taken the decision after visits to restaurants where he noticed food being wasted. He said a country where so many poor went without food could not afford to waste food.

"This idea has come out of my personal experience. When we go out for eating, we see a lot of food being wasted. There
are people in our country who do not get food," he said.

(WION with inputs from PTI)


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