Why this campaign?
Our "Safe food, Safe life" campaign series, the first instalment of which was published yesterday, appears to have touched the hearts and minds of the general public as evidenced by the enormous response it has generated. We have been overwhelmed by words and messages of support. What we had reported was not unknown to them. But what struck the readers was the widespread nature of the malaise and the apparent inaction of those in charge.
A few of our readers questioned whether we are creating panic among consumers. Our reply is that intense media coverage --both print and electronic -- has been going on for a long time. Nothing that we wrote was unknown. Only that nobody spoke as loudly as we did. The government did take action from time to time but it was mostly cosmetic and one off. Till today, there is no effective and functional regulatory mechanism to ensure safe food, and people feel helpless.
Under these circumstances, what can responsible media do? We needed to raise public awareness and call for collective action by all stakeholders to do something about it. There is NO NEED to PANIC, as we wrote yesterday, but there is EVERY REASON to be HIGHLY CONCERNED.
A few readers have also asked as to why we are accepting advertisements along with publishing the reports. The reason is simple. One of the actions we want to trigger through our campaign is to make all actors in the food supply chain pledge that they will act to ensure safe food to people. This pledge can be made through press releases, emails, social media, advertisements and public statements. Some have chosen to advertise, which is a transparent and globally acceptable ethical practice to express solidarity with a social cause. Pledge is the first step which, we expect, will be followed by effective action on the part of all.
We appeal to growers, marketeers, retailers and everybody involved in the food supply chain to pledge in public to do everything in their power to limit, within scientifically proven permissible levels, the use of chemicals in the food items they produce, market and retail.
We also appeal to the government to act.