Through a notification dated 4 September 2020 the FSSAI has informed all that the FSSAI School Children Regulation called the Food Safety and Standards (Safe food and balanced diets for children in school) Regulations, 2020 has been Gazette Notified. The FSSAI has finalized this important regulation as it provides the fundamental idea and makes clear what foods are healthy and what is not healthy for school children to consume.
These regulations, have been finalised after consideration of stakeholder comments and objections and are now notified. FSSAI has said that sufficient transition time will be given to all stakeholders before enforcing these regulations. Meanwhile FSSAI would soon direct State Food Authorities/Department of School Education to frame safe and balanced diets for children in school in accordance with the General guidance given in these regulations.
- Short title and commencement
(1) These regulations may be called the Food Safety and Standards (Safe food and balanced diets for children in school) Regulations, 2020.
(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette and food business operator shall comply with all the provisions of these regulations with effect from 1st July, 2021, except sub-regulation (5) of regulations 3 and sub-regulation (1) of regulations 5 which shall come into force only from such date as the Food Authority may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
- Definitions –
(1) In these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires
“Act” means the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
“Department of School Education” means the nodal department of concerned Central or State or Union Territory administration that looks after the school education irrespective of Nomenclature
“Food handler” means a person who directly handles packaged or unpackaged food, food preparation equipment and utensils or food contact surfaces
“food safety” means assurance that food is acceptable for human consumption according to its intended use
“Food Safety Display Board” means an informative board displaying the Food Authority registration or license number of the food business operator, basic food hygiene and safety tips to be complied by the said operator and mechanism for obtaining consumer feedback on the quality and safety of the food offered by it
“Food Safety Supervisor” means a person appointed by the food business operator and holds a valid food safety certificate of training approved by the Food Authority
“balanced diet” is one which provides all the nutrients including the essential micro nutrients in required amounts and proper proportions
“Schools” means all types of schools whether pre-primary, primary, elementary, secondary, day care or as the case may be, crèche (excluding crèches or day care for infants or children up to the age of twenty-two months), or boarding run by private entities, local bodies, government or aided by government
“School Authority” means Head of the Institution such as Principal, Headmaster, etc., Governing Body, Trust or any other entity set up to govern and manage the school
“School campus” means, for the purpose of these regulations, all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the school that is accessible to students during the school hours and for residents of boarding schools or hostels
“School meals” means all food and beverages sold or supplied in the school campus through canteens, school mess, hostel kitchens, vending machines or any other method and include all meals served through mid-day meal kitchens and catered for students by the school
All other words and expression used herein and not defined, but defined in the Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Act, rules or regulations, respectively.
- Responsibilities of School Authority to ensure safe food and balanced diets on school premises:
(1) School Authority selling or catering school meals by itself in the school campus shall get registered as a food business operator from the concerned authority under the provisions of the Act, rules or regulations made thereunder and ensure that the food is safe and balanced.
(2) Any School Authority entering into a contract or transaction with a food business operators (FBOs) selling or catering school meal on school campus shall ensure that such FBOs are duly registered or licensed under the provisions of the Act, rules or regulations made thereunder and ensure that the food is safe and balanced.
(3) The Department of School Education shall ensure that all FBOs contracted by it for operation of the mid-day meal scheme, are registered or licensed under the provisions of the Act, rules or regulations made thereunder and ensure that the food is safe and balanced.
(4) The FBOs selling or catering food on school campus shall ensure compliance to the requirements of sanitary and hygienic practices provided to the food manufacturers in Schedule 4, Food Safety Display Board and Food Safety Supervisor(s) as specified under the Food Safety Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.
(5) School Authority shall ensure that no person shall sell or offer for sale including free sale, or permit sale, of food products high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium in school premises or campus.
(6) School Authority shall ensure that the board containing warning “Do not sell including free sale or market or advertise the food products high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium within school premises or campus” in English or one Indian language as applicable, is displayed prominently at the entrance gate or gates of the school.
(7) School Authority shall ensure that there shall not be any advertisement banner or wallpaper of food which is high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium on school computers.
- Promotion of safe food and balanced diet in and around school campus
(1) The Food Authority or the State Food Authority shall encourage schools to adopt a comprehensive program for promoting safe food and balanced diets amongst school children and meet specified benchmarks to convert school campus into ‘Eat Right Campus’ that focus on serving of safe food and balanced diet, local and seasonal food and no food waste.
(2) The School Authority shall encourage and promote consumption of a safe and balanced diet in the school canteen or mess or kitchen based on guidance from “Dietary guidelines for Indians – A Manual” issued by the National Institute of Nutrition and other expert institutions or authorities.
(3) The School Authority shall ensure that the FBOs supplying prepared school meals in the school premises are identified and selected foods which can be served or sold on the basis of the broad guidelines given in the Schedule to these regulations and as per the directions, issued by the Food Authority or the Commissioner of Food Safety of the state.
(4) The School Authority may engage with nutritionists, dietitians, nutrition associations or seek parental support to assist in the drafting of the menu for the children, periodically.
(5) The crèches or day cares for infants or children up to the age of twenty-four months old are also expected to serve safe and balanced diets to them.
- Food marketing and advertisement and selling to children in school
(1) No person shall advertise or market or sell or offer for sale including free sale, or permit sale of, food products high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium in school campus or to school children in an area within fifty meters from the school gate in any direction.
(2) When marketing foods to children in school premises or campus, the FBOs shall
- only offer premiums and incentives such as toys, trading cards, apparel, club memberships, contests, reduced-price specials, or coupons with foods, meals, which is not high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium
- use sponsorship of sporting, school, and other events for children only with food which is not high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium.
(3) FBOs shall support balanced eating in schools and not market, sell, or give away food which is high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium anywhere on school campuses, including through
- logos, brand names, spokes-characters, product names, or other product marketing on or in vending machines; books, curricula, and other educational materials; school supplies; posters; textbook covers; and school property such as scoreboards, signs, athletic fields, buses, and buildings
- educational incentive programs that provide food as a reward
- direct sale of food which is high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium
- free samples or coupons
- school fundraising activities.
- Monitoring and surveillance
(1) The School Authority shall have a system of regular inspection of premises to ensure that safe, balanced and hygienic food is served to students. The School Authority may appoint a Health and Wellness Ambassador or Health and Wellness team, who shall act as the nodal persons to monitor availability of safe, balanced and hygienic food.
(2) The State Food Authority shall conduct surveillance and periodic inspection of food business operators covered under these regulations so as to ensure that compliance of the Act, rules or regulations made thereunder are met.
(3) Any public authority like Municipal Corporation or any other local body or Panchayat in an area, as may be notified, in addition to State Food Authority shall ensure the compliance of sub-regulation (1) of regulation 5 of these regulations.
(4) If the School Authority, without reasonable grounds, fails to comply with the provisions under these regulations, the Central or State Food Authority shall take up the matter with the concerned Department of School Education or Affiliation Body, if any, to take appropriate action.
(5) The State Level Advisory committee (SLAC) constituted under sub-regulation 2.1.15 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011 shall create a subcommittee to monitor the implementation of these regulations and to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food to school children.
(6) The sub-committee shall include representatives from the Department of School Education, and public health professionals in the field of foods and nutrition. The sub-committee shall meet at least twice in a year.
(7) The sub-committee shall recommend indicative list of food groups and preparations which shall be served or sold in the school canteen or mess or kitchen within the State based on local variations in the diets of people of that area and as per the broad guidelines given in the Schedule to these regulations.
[see regulation 4 (3) and 6 (7)]
General Guidance for Providing Safe food and balanced diet to Children
- Meal-times in schools shall be mandatory to inculcate healthy eating habits in children.
- Safe drinking water shall be provided to all students free of cost.
- A variety of foods to be provided across the week, as a general principle. The school menu shall be cereal-protein combination and a micronutrient rich meal for students.
- A combination of whole grains, pulses, millets, foods of animal origin like milk, eggs, etc., shall be used. Fresh, seasonal and local produce shall be utilised for the preparation of the meals.
- Cooking oil or ghee shall be used in moderation. Use of re-heated fats and oils shall be avoided.
- In order to prepare the meals more nutritious, fortified wheat flour, rice, milk, edible oil and double fortified salt may be used strictly adhering the standards specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018.
General guidance for selection of Foods
Inclusion in Menu
List of Foods and Beverages*
Always a part of the menu – 75-80% of the foods should belong from this category
1.Cereals, Millets and Pulses – Such as whole wheat grain (atta), rice, Millets (ragi, bajra, etc.), Legumes (all dal and beans)
2. Milk, Milk products, egg, meat and fish –milk, curd, yoghurt, lassi, butter milk, paneer, or milk products, lean meat, chicken, fish, egg
3. Fruits and Vegetables –vegetables (including green leafy vegetables: other vegetables and roots and tubers) Fresh fruits (Local and seasonal produce)
4. Oils, fats, nuts and oilseeds – walnuts, almonds, pistachios, roasted nuts without salt or sugar, groundnuts, sesame seeds, etc.
5. Processed/cooked Foods–Freshly made soup, porridge, beverages with no added sugar, stir fried vegetables, snacks – boiled, baked or steamed, cereal or pulses based such as idli, upma, etc.
To be eaten occasionally – in small portion size and reduced frequency (e.g., once in a week)
1. Desserts – Ice-creams, milk-based and dairy based sweet/desserts
2. Packed foods– cheese, canned and preserved vegetable, packaged meat or fish products, fruits/ vegetables/ cereal/ pulse-based snacks, nuts and seeds.
3. Bakery Products – white breads, biscuits
4. Beverages – Packaged soups and juices cereal or malt-based beverages, flavoured soya milk, etc.
Not to be made available in the school, hostel, etc.
Food products high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium.
* These lists of products are illustrative only.
Source : FSSAI