Government evaluates to ban advertising of unhealthy foods in and around schools

NEW DELHI: In a movement to ensure healthy eating among school-age children, the food regulator has introduced a draft regulation that proposes a ban on the sale, as well as the advertising and promotion of unhealthy, high-fat foods , salt and sugar (HFSS), in school facilities and less than 50 meters from the school campus.

The draft regulation entitled - Food Safety Regulations and Standards (Safe Foods and Healthy Diets for School Children), 2019 ’- also listed several measures to monitor and monitor the quality of food sold and supplied to school-age children.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has requested public comments on the draft for December, after which it will be finalized for implementation.

Food business operators that manufacture products should not advertise or offer the free sale of such food to children at school facilities or within 50 meters of the school's campus, the draft regulation says.

The proposal also contains guidelines for providing safe and healthy food to schoolchildren. This includes guidance on food selection. For example, it suggests that 75-80% of food should be cereals, legumes, dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. It also advises discouraging the availability of HFSS foods, such as fried foods such as french fries, fried chips, samosa, chola bhatura, gulab jamun, etc., sugary or non-carbonated sugary drinks, ready-to-eat foods, noodles, pizzas, hamburgers, products of confectionery, sugar and sugar-based products, etc.

In June this year, FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal announced that the regulator proposed banning the advertising of unhealthy foods in the school and its surroundings. However, notification of the draft standards was pending with the ministry of health for approval.

The school authority itself or the food business operators (FBO) hired by it and the FBOs hired by the Department of School Education for the operation of the half-day meal plan will have to obtain a registration or license as appropriate and meet the requirements of health and hygiene practices specified in the food safety law, says the draft.

The FSSAI has proposed that school authorities have to adopt a comprehensive program to promote safe foods and healthy diets among schoolchildren.

Encourage school authorities to promote the consumption of a safe and balanced diet at school according to guidelines issued by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), said the draft regulation.

It also prescribes a regular inspection of the facilities to ensure that students are served safe, healthy and hygienic foods.

The FSSAI proposes the creation of a subcommittee by the state-level advisory committee to monitor the implementation of regulations and ensure the availability of safe and healthy food for school-age children.

“A healthy meal makes our children feel better, grow and learn better, and the right eating habits can be rooted in children from an early age. One of the fundamental ideas is a fundamental idea to make clear what is healthy for children and what is not, ”said FSSAI.