A high-level government panel formed to frame guidelines on junk food has recommended banning 12 food items, including chips, soft drinks, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers, cakes and biscuits, Indian sweetmeat and chocolates in school canteens across India.
In its report submitted on Thursday, the panel set up by the women and child development (WCD) ministry has instead proposed that school canteens should have an all Indian, mostly vegetarian menu, comprising pulao, rice, dal, kadhi, rajma, khichri, halwa with black chana, payasam, idli, vada, upma, sambar, vegetable sandwich, curd, butter milk, coconut water, shikanji and jaljeera.
The 10-member committee headed by T Longvah, director-in-charge of the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition, has also recommended that street vendors should not be allowed to sell these food items during school hours within 200 metres of its vicinity.
The panel wants school canteens should colour code food items as green, yellow and orange depending on their nutritional values. “Being the nodal ministry tasked with tackling issues related to child nutrition, we thought it necessary to address the issue of junk food. We will give the report to the HRD ministry which will have to take a final call on its implementation,” said a WCD ministry official.