HC gives three months’ time to Centre on junk food

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the central government to implement within three months guidelines on restricting sale of junk food in and around schools.

The court, earlier, gave its node to guidelines prescribed by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that identify certain category of food and drinks as harmful for children advocating these be “regulated/ restricted”.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath gave FSSAI three months’ time to enforce guidelines after the government moved a plea seeking three more weeks to implement the guidelines regarding restriction on sale of junk food.

The guidelines were framed by a court-appointed expert committee under aegis of FSSAI on the subject of “making available quality and safe food in schools”.

The panel identified foods high in fat, sugar and salt that must be limited by schools in canteens.

It said schools must promote nutrition awareness and encourage food items including sandwiches, fruit salads, paneer, vegetable cutlets, upma, idli, uthapam, khandvi, poha, low fat milkshakes etc.

While approving the guidelines the court in March gave the central government and FSSAI three months’ time to convert these into law and start enforcing it.

The PIL was filed by Uday Foundation which had sought an immediate ban on junk food and carbonated drinks in all unaided and private schools.

It further urged the court to initiate measures to discourage availability of fast food within 500 yards of schools in Delhi, apart from a canteen policy.

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