The Food Authority ‘FSSAI’ in a recent press release has proposed a Ten-Point Charter for food sold & supplied to the School Children. A Safe & Healthy Food not only keeps us fit but also saves us from various diseases & malnutrition. A nutritious food holds significance particularly for the vulnerable groups; infants, young children and old age people. The Honourable Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has also stressed on the need for preventive and promotive healthcare in the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia where he had said, “Eat Right, Stay Fit, Tabhi India Super Fit”.
FSSAI’s newly proposed draft regulations on ‘Safe Food and healthy diets for School Children’ have mentioned; the responsibilities of the school authority, promotion of safe and healthy foods in and around the school premises, food marketing and advertisement to school children and monitoring & surveillance activities to ensure that safe food shall be served to children.
The following text from the press release on Ten-Point Charter:
1. The School Authority itself/FBOs contracted by School Authority selling or catering school meals and FBOs contracted by Department of School Education for operation of the Mid-Day Meal scheme must obtain a registration or license as applicable and comply with the requirements of sanitary and hygienic practices to the food service establishments as specified under schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) regulations, 2011.
2. Foods which are referred to as foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) cannot be sold to school children in school canteens/ mess premises/ hostel kitchens or within 50 meters of the school campus.
3. Encourage schools to adopt a comprehensive program for promoting Safe food and Healthy diets amongst school children, and to convert school campus into Eat Right School focusing safe and healthy food, local and seasonal food and no food waste as per the specified benchmarks.
4. Encourage School Authority to promote consumption of a safe and balanced diet in the school as per the guidelines issued by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
5. The School Authority shall ensure that FBOs supplying prepared meals in the premises are on the basis of general guidance provided in the regulation and as per the direction issued by the Food Authority or the Commissioners of Food safety.
6. Nutrionists, dietitians may be engaged by the School authority to assist in the preparation of menu for the children, periodically.
7. FBOs manufacturing HFSS food products barred from advertising such foods to children in school premises or within 50 meters of the school campus.
8. FBOs to support healthy eating in schools and not market, sell, or give away low nutrition foods anywhere on school campus, including through logos, brand names, posters, textbook covers etc.
9. Regular inspection of premises to ensure that safe, healthy and hygienic food is served to students.
10. Creating a sub-committee by the State Level Advisory Committee to monitor the implementation of this regulations and to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food to school children. FSSAI has invited suggestions and objections from stakeholders within 30 days from the publication of the draft regulations. These regulations, after consideration of stakeholder comments and finalization, would be finalised for implementation.
Meanwhile FSSAI would direct State Food Authorities/ Department of School Education to frame heathy diets for school children in accordance with the General guidance given in this regulation.