FSSAI: No sale of junk food within 50 metres of schools
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India recently announced that sale of junk and unhealthy food should be restricted within 50 metres schools and education institutions.
The FSSAI has made the announcement to provide safe foods and balanced diet to children in schools. The foods referred to as HFSS (High in Fat, Salt and Sugar) cannot be sold in mess premises and scool canteens.
The FSSAI operates under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It was established as statutory body under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The GoI has brought in several regulations to make sure school children are provided with healthy food. The Mid-Day Meal scheme should receive license or registration from food regulating agency. Also, it should comply requirements of hygiene practices as specified under Schedule 4 of Food Safety and Standard Act.
The draft regulation against fast food within 50 metres of school premises was released in November 2019. It was titled as “Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and Healthy Diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019” The regulations are as follows
- The food companies cannot advertise or offer free foods within 50 metres of the school campus
- The regulation prohibits companies from using their logos, product names and brand names on educational materials such as school buses, buildings or athletic fields.
- The school campus should be converted into “Eat Right School”.
- The schools should get advice from dietitians and nutritionists to prepare menu for children periodically.
India has the second most number of obese children among 195 countries according to WHO. Also, western diet affects the diversity of gut bacteria and sets stage for metabolic diseases. Therefore, these regulations that reduce the intake of unhealthy foods should be welcomed.
In 2015, the Delhi High Court ordered FSSAI to regulate junk foods being sold in school canteens. After this, committees were set up to frame new guidelines to make sure school children get healthy meals.