To ensure safe and wholesome food for schoolchildren, Arun Singhal, CEO of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has restricted the sale of junk and unhealthy food in canteens of schools and other educational institutions.
The top food regulator of the country has prohibited the sale and advertisement of unhealthy food within 50 metres of the school premises to ensure food safety. Moreover, 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 school children.
“The idea is to provide safe food and 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 ANI.
In 2015, the Delhi High Court had ordered FSSAI to regulate junk food being sold in school canteens. Thereafter, experts committee at top food regulating agency relooked and framed newer guidelines so that children in school get healthy meals.
Canteen, mess, kitchen operating in school need to have a licence from FSSAI. Also, food business operators contracted by the department of education for the Mid-Day Meal scheme must obtain a registration or licence 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.
School administrations will now need to adopt a comprehensive programme to promote safe and healthy diets, local and seasonal food, and the doing away of food waste. They will need to convert the school campus into an ‘Eat Right School’ All of this will be monitored by a nodal officer nominated by each school. School authorities will now 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).