Dal Chawal Not Junk Food in Schools; Its Official!

A high-level committee set up by the Women & Child Development (WCD) Ministry has recommended a ban on sale of junk food by street vendors to children in a vicinity 200 metres from schools.

The WCD ministry panel has defined junk food as “any food or drink, packaged or non packaged, which contain low amounts of proteins, vitamins, phyto-chemichals, minerals and dietary fibres but are rich in saturated fatty acids, salt and sugar and high in calories that are known to have negative impact on health if consumed regularly or in high amounts.

According to the Hindustan Times, the 10 member committeeSet up by the Women and Child Development (WCD) and  headed by T Longvah, directorin-charge, National Institute of Nutrition, has also recommended that street vendors should not be allowed within 200 metre during school hours.

Presently, India does not have any regulation banning such food in school canteens.

While expressing concern over the rising incidence of obesity in children and the related physiological issues including diabetes, hypertension etc, the committee reviewed the prevalent practices of regulation of junk food in 23 countries

The committee  has proposed an all Indian, mostly vegetarian menu comprising pulao, rice, dal, halwa, kadhi chawal, rajma, khichdi, payasam, idli, vada, sambhar, coconut, shikanji, jaljeera to be served in school canteen

On July 31, the HC gave the government three months time to enforce guidelines on restricting sale of junk food in and around schools.

Accepting the draft guidelines for restriction on sale of junk food in and around schools, the court in its order had directed the FSSAI to create regulations and implement them within three months.

It further suggested that a list of “desirable” food items to be offered in school canteens as well as labelling of pre-packaged food, stating clearly as “unfit for infant/children/pregnant and lactating

It also gave detailed recommendations regarding establishment and management of school canteens and comprehensive advertisement/promotion campaign to be undertaken jointly by different stakeholder Ministries. The Ministry had constituted the committee under the Chairmanship of Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, to look into matters relating to availability of junk food at various places accessible to children.

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