Food safety authority asks states to consider prohibition
CARBONATED drinks and junk food may soon be off the shelves of school and college canteens. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said this in a counter-affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court on July 18.
The counter-affidavit was in reply to a public interest petition seeking ban on junk food by Uday Foundation, a non-profit working for children’s health in Delhi.
FSSAI said the health ministry has written to chief ministers and health ministers of states to “consider issuing instructions for withdrawal of carbonated beverages and junk food from school and college canteens”. Medical colleges and agricultural institutes may also be asked to ban them.
There have been no rules on junk food till now because the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, does not define it. Foods that are high on fat, sodium and sugar. and low on vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fibre are generally called junk food. FSSAI’s counter-affidavit cites scientific studies that show a correlation between junk food and chronic degenerative diseases besides hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and glucose intolerance.
“This is a positive step,” says Rahul Verma, co-founder of Uday Foundation. “We will now request the court to form a committee comprising nutritionists, civil society members and schools to draw a comprehensive policy on nutrition and guidelines for schools and educational institutions,” he says.