FSSAI planning to regulate sale of junk food near schools

FSSAI planning to regulate sale of junk food near schools

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will soon finalise its regulations that will restrict advertisement and sale of food products which are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) inside school premises and within 50 metres from the school gates. In a first of its kind, the FSSAI is bringing the new principle regulation– under the Food Safety and Standard Act which aims to provide a safe, nutritious and healthy diet for schoolchildren by regulating sale of of junk food near schools & educational institutions.

FSSAI had released the draft of the regulations regarding sale of HFSS products in November 2019. As per recent NEWS, now FSSAI is planning to put curbs on sale or promotion of HFSS food products, inside the school premises and “within 50 metres from the school gate in any direction.”

Also, the new regulations will make it mandatory for companies that market food products to children, to ensure that they depict and package food in reasonable portion and not encourage overeating.

With the aim to ensure safe and wholesome food for schoolchildren, FSSAI has restricted the sale of junk and unhealthy food in canteens of schools and other educational institutions.

Arun Singhal, CEO of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

Push for a balanced diet

The authority could also look at getting Municipal authorities and other relevant local authorities on-board to ensure compliance of the restrictions on sale and advertisement of unhealthy food inside and outside school premises, sources added. At the same time, State governments may ask schools to set up committees which will include nutritionists and other experts for promotion of balanced diets.

As per the draft regulations, schools that are selling or catering school meals themselves will need to get registered as Food Business Operator (FBO) with the State food safety authorities. Even catering companies that offer meals in schools will also need to register as FBOs. In addition, it was proposed that schools will ensure balanced diets are served in school canteens, mess and kitchens based on guidance from “Dietary guidelines for Indians – A Manual” issued by National Institute of Nutrition.

Eat Right Programe

FSSAI has been pushing schools to sensitise children on consumption of safe and healthy diets through its Eat Right School Programme. Over 40,000 schools have registered on FSSAI’s school platform and will work in collaboration with the food safety authority to become Eat Right Schools.

Schools administrations will have to adopt a comprehensive programme for promoting safe food and healthy diets among schoolchildren and to convert school campus into Eat Right School focusing on safe and healthy food, local and seasonal food and no food waste as per the specified guidelines. This has to be monitored by a nodal officer nominated by each school

In 2015, the Delhi High Court had directed FSSAI to regulate sale of junk food in school premises after which an expert committee had submitted a report to the food safety authority on this issue.