Government Panel Recommends Junk Food Ban Within 200 Meters of Schools
NEW DELHI: A government panel has recommended that not only should junk food be banned from school canteens but that shops, restaurants or vendors within 200 meters of the school should not be allowed to sell the products to school children. The panel submitted its report to the ministry of women and child development on Thursday.
The committee has also suggested a comprehensive definition of junk food in the context of children and has suggested that all food items falling in the definition of junk food should be banned in the school canteens. Its recommendations include vendors, restaurants and shops be barred from selling these foods during school timings in a vicinity of 200 meters from any school and to children in school uniforms.
The panel has suggested that a list of desirable food items to be offered in the school canteen. Recommendations have also been made for labeling of pre-packaged food stating clearly as "unfit for infant/children/pregnant and lactating mothers or persons with specific ailments".
The WCD ministry headed by Maneka Gandhi had constituted the panel earlier this year under the chairmanship of director of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad on matters relating to availability of junk food in myriad forms at various places accessible to children. The members of the committee include representatives from Niti Ayog, health ministry, department of AYUSH, HRD ministry, Bureau of Indian Standards, FSSAI, National Institute of Public Cooperation & Child Development, ICMR and independent experts in the field of nutrition and clinical psychology and behavioural science.
The panel expressed concern about the increasing incidence of obesity in children and the related physiological issues including diabetes, hypertension. Ministry officials said that the report was being examined.
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