FSSAI issue guidelines on junk food consumption in schools

  • Saurabh Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Oct 25, 2015 16:12 IST

Regulating the consumption and availability of junk food in the schools, Food safety and standard authority of India (FSSAI) has finally drafted the guidelines proposing to restrict sale of food high in fat, sugar and salt within 50 metres of a school’s premises.

While, the drafted guidelines have brought cheers to the Himachal parents as the schools at least will be made junk food-free, they have created flutter among the fast-food corners located in vicinity of schools.

One of the retailers in Sanjauli market, Ravi Kumar Gupta said, “Rising junk food consumption amongst school children is a matter of concern for parents but there is no option. In past few months Maggi was wiped out from market due to failing in led-test. Majority of customers inquiring for Maggi were either Mothers or school children.”

Meanwhile, a resident of Kaithu, Sushma Chauhan said, “My son is studying in 7th standard and is literally addicted to junk food. It would be better if advertisement of unhealthy food is curbed.”

Recently, a study conducted by renowned cardiologist PC Negi and Anjali Mahajan had revealed that childhood obesity has increased in Shimla. Establishing a link between food high in fat, sugar and salt and Obesity, the study had concluded, “It is indeed ironic that a problem of ‘plenty’, namely, childhood overweight and obesity has emerged, even as we are still fighting malnutrition and infectious disease. As such, conflict in public health messages is a distinct possibility and must be avoided at all cost.”

Highlights of draft guidelines:

Most common junk foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar such as chips, fried foods, sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages, sugar-sweetened non-carbonated beverages, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers, potato fries and confectionery items should be restricted in schools and 50 meters nearby.

Advertisement and promotion of such foods targeted at children is to be regulated through a framework.

A canteen policy should be implemented based on color-coding.

Schools should promote nutrition education and awareness for children. A well-structured curriculum on balanced diet and its health impacts should be introduced.

No steps taken:

Almost a year ago a concerned parent from Mandi district had written an email to Secretary Education, regarding increasing junk food consumption amongst school children and had urged to initiate some steps but to no effect, since no action was taken in regard to the same.

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