Centre Prohibits Sale of Junk Foods in and around Schools

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the nodal agency under the ministry of health and family welfare to regulate food safety standards in India, has framed Food Safety and Standards (Safe food and healthy diets for Schoolchildren) regulations 2019 to clamp down on consumption of unhealthy food by school children.

Taking forward its “Eat Right” campaign, the Centre has banned the 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.

The regulation defines HFSS as “deep-fried foods, for example, French fries, fried chips, samosa, chole bhature, gulab jamun, sugar-sweetened carbonated or non-carbonated beverages, ready-to-eat foods, noodles, pizzas, burgers, confectionary items, sugar and sugar-based products.”

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.

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