‘Country needs nutrition and dietetic council’

LAHORE: Several institutions are offering degree programmes in the field of human nutrition in the country, but there is no body or council in the country, which can regulate the important subject at the national level. 
This was stated by University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Vice Chancellor Prof Talat Naseer Pasha in an interview with APP here on Sunday. He said there was a need to establish a nutrition and dietetic council in the country, which could regulate and monitor degree programmes and play its role in human resource development.
He said, “The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore has taken initiatives to assist the production of quality food of high biological value to the nation. 
We have established the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, offering of B.S. Nutrition and Dietetics with the collaboration of King Edward Medical University. We have also initiated MPhil Food Safety and Control with the support of UNIDO and accredited the degree programme from Royal Environmental Health Institute, Scotland, UK,” Prof Pasha said. He added, “We also offer a PhD in the department”.
“The UVAS has ISO certified labs for checking of drug residues and toxins in foods and a reference lab of government of Punjab for halal testing offering free services to consumers to check quality of milk and developed commercial kits to check adulteration in milk,” he said. 
I believe together we can assist production of safe and healthy food and reduce healthcare spending,” he added. 
“It is now recognized that malnutrition is not only an issue affecting the health but also the human development index and the economy of the country. 
The National Nutrition Survey 2011 revealed an alarming situation of malnutrition and food security in the country,” he added. 
“An over-nourished segment of society is also a problem and it is the main cause for increasing the burden of chronic diseases like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes. This segment of the population also needs to balance their diet,” he suggested.
“Another very important issue in the food sector is food safety. Some resent reports show that as a whole, healthy and clean food is available only to around the fifty percent population of the country. Adulteration in milk and artificial colours used in sweets and candies are injurious to health, particularly to children. Punjab Food Authority is playing its role but its scope is limited to some districts only,” he observed.
“Therefore, there is a need to take steps to ensure food safety in the country,” the VC concluded. 

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