The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recommended that advertisements of unhealthy food in and around school premises be banned in an attempt to promote safe and wholesome food among school children. According to chief executive officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal, the FSSAI has prepared a draft regulation on the availability of safe, wholesome and nutritious food in schools and the same has been submitted to the health ministry for its approval.
“We have proposed to put a curb on advertisements and promotion of food that is not healthy in school premises and 50 metres surroundings,” Agarwal said. The proposal comes in the wake of a March 2015 Delhi High Court order wherein the court had directed the food regulator to come out with regulations to promote healthy food for school children.
“We have been struggling to put that regulation together. Because if you have to make a law, it has to be implemented,” Agarwal said. In its draft, the FSSAI has defined healthy diet based on some parameters. “How do you define healthy diet? That is at the heart of that regulation. We cannot say that because it (food product) is coming from MNCs it is unhealthy, some of the Indian food can also be unhealthy. Therefore we have to have a matrix that defines healthy food fairly and objectively, Agarwal said, “We have come out with a draft regulation that will be in place”.