-CB News Desk
The country’s top food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has announced restriction of the sale of junk and unhealthy food in canteens of schools and other educational institutions to ensure safe and wholesome food for schoolchildren.
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. The Food Regulator has also prohibited the sale and advertisement of unhealthy food within 50 meters of the school premises.
“The idea is to provide safe food and a balanced diet for children in schools. Foods which are referred to as foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) cannot be sold to schoolchildren in school canteens or mess premises or hostel kitchens or within 50 metres of the school campus,” a senior FSSAI official told as reported by ANI.
This restriction comes after the Delhi High Court ordered FSSAI, in 2015, to regulate junk food being sold in school canteens. A committee comprising experts at the top food regulating agency joined to frame newer guidelines for children to get healthy meals in school.
“Canteen, mess, kitchen operating in school should have a license from FSSAI. Also, food business operators contracted by the department of education to function the Mid-Day Meal scheme must get registration or license from the apex food regulating agency and comply with the requirements of hygienic practices as specified under schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards Act,” said the official to ANI.
Municipal authorities and state administration will inspect at the school premises to ensure that safe, healthy, and hygienic food is served to students, said the official to ANI.
“Schools administrations 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,” added the official.
“School authorities have to promote the consumption of a safe and balanced diet in the school as per the guidelines issued by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN),” said another senior official adding that schools have to implement these regulations soon after the date of notification.