Recently, the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) announced the selling of junk and unhealthy food should be restricted within the 50 meters of educational institutions and schools.
The announcement has been made by FSSAI to provide balanced diets and safe foods to children in schools. The HFSS (High in Fat, Salt, and Sugar) food cannot be sold in school canteens and mess premises.
The FSSAI is operational under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The FSSAI was established as a statutory body under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Several regulations have been brought in by the GoI to make sure the school children are provided with healthy food. License or registration form food regulating agency should be given to the Mid-Day Meal scheme. Under Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standard Act, hygiene practices should be followed.
In November 2019, the draft regulation against fast food within 50 meters of school premises. Following are the regulations:
• Free foods or advertisements should not be given by food companies within 50 meters of the school campus.
• The product names, logos, and brand names are prohibited for the companies from using them on educational materials such as buildings, school buses, or athletic fields.
• There should be a conversion of the school campus to “Eat right School.”
• Advice from nutritionists and dieticians should provide advice to schools to prepare a menu for the children periodically.
According to WHO, India has the second greatest number of obese children among 195 countries. The diversity of gut bacteria is affected by the western diet and sets the stage for metabolic diseases. The reduction in the intake of unhealthy food regulations should be welcomed.
The Delhi High court had ordered FSSAI in 2015, to regulate the junk foods being sold in school canteens. Committees were set up, after this, to frame new guidelines to ensure healthy meals for school children.