Food regulator FSSAI issued draft regulations proposing a ban on sale as well as advertisements of junk foods in school canteens and within 50 metres around school campuses as part of its objective to ensure safe and wholesome food for children. The Food and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sought comments from stakeholders within 30 days on its draft regulations titled ‘Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and healthy diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019’. Taking forward its “Eat Right” campaign, the Centre has banned sale of pre-packaged foods which “are referred to as foods high in fat, salt and sugar” to school children in “school canteens/ mess premises/ hostel kitchens or within 50 metres of the school campus”, according to new guidelines.
It prohibits food manufacturers and food vendors from handing out free samples of low-nutrition food to children at sporting events. Such entities are also forbidden from using their logos on vending machines, books, school supplies, textbook covers, school property like scoreboards and signs.
It also says that schools will no longer get sponsorship for events from food business operators, a move seen curbing incidents of food business operators using their logos on banners at field meets or as wallpapers on school computers and in school canteens. “A healthy food make our kids feel better, grow better and learn better and right eating habits can be engrained in the children from a young age. At the heart of these regulations is a fundamental idea to make it clear what is healthy for children and what is not,” the regulator said.
These regulations, after consideration of stakeholder comments and finalisation, will be finalised for implementation.