Packaged food companies can no longer promote or sell products rich in saturated fat, added sugar, sodium, or trans fat on school premises or within 50 yards of the school gate in any direction. The Indian Food Safety and Standards Agency (FSSAI) announced new regulations on Monday to ensure the availability of a safe and balanced diet for school children.
No more promotions
Neither can businesses promote unhealthy food by offering free samples, toys, trading cards, clothing, club memberships, coupons, or by participating in educational incentive programs and sponsoring sports or school events. The logo, brand names, or trademarks of such food may not be displayed on vending machines or educational materials, or on school premises, including buses and buildings.
School authorities must also comply with these regulations by highlighting a plaque at the entrance to schools with the warning, “Do not sell, including free sale, and do not market or promote foods high in saturated fat or trans fat or sugar or sodium in school buildings or on campus in English or an Indian language. School authorities must ensure that HFSS foods are not advertised on school computers either
“The Department of School Education ensures that any FBOs it hires to operate the lunch system are registered or licensed in accordance with the provisions of the law, rules or regulations contained therein, and ensures that the food is safe and balanced.” specified regulations. School authorities directly involved in the sale and provision of food and meals must register as FBOs with the state or the central licensing authority. You also need to ensure that FBOs hired to deliver food in school canteens or kitchens are “properly registered or licensed” and adhere to safety and hygiene practices.
School authorities must “encourage and encourage” the consumption of a safe and balanced diet in the premises based on the guidelines in the “Dietary Guidelines for Indians – A Handbook” issued by the National Institute of Nutrition and other expert institutions or agencies. The regulations also require that state-level advisory committees set up a subcommittee made up of representatives from the Ministry of Education and health professionals to oversee the implementation of these regulations. This subcommittee will also recommend an indicative list of food groups and preparations that should be served and sold in school canteens and kitchens within a state, based on the general guidelines set out in the regulations and local deviations.
The rules consist of a general guide to the choice of food. For example: The FSSAI has recommended products such as ice cream, sweets / desserts based on milk and milk, white bread, biscuits, packaged soups, juices, beverages based on grain or malt, canned meat, vegetables and packaged foods such as snacks based on fruit, Vegetable and legume bases should be consumed occasionally in small portions with a reduced frequency.
School authorities will need to conduct inspections, and state food authorities will conduct surveillance activities on food business operators selling their products in schools to ensure compliance with these regulations.