Home>> CSE WELCOMES HC"S MOVE SEEKING RESPONSE ON CASE OF BANNING JUNK FOODS IN SCHOOLS

Cse Welcomes Hc"S Move Seeking Response On Case Of Banning Junk Foods In Schools

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Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed the direction of Delhi high court in the case of banning junk food in schools. In its direction to the amicus curiae N K Kaul, the bench has asked him to file a detailed response within three weeks segregating what out of the submitted guidelines is enforceable and what is suggestive. The court also stressed on the need to specify the junk food items that should be regulated in schools. 
The case goes back to 2010, when Uday Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit organisation, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking ban on junk food sold in schools and around them, regulation of junk food promotion and advertisement, and development of a school canteen policy. In response to this, the court had asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to set guidelines. In March 2014, the FSSAI submitted a set of guidelines to the court for "making available quality and safe foods in schools". The guidelines were developed by an 'expert group' set up by FSSAI as per directions of the court in September 2013. However, CSE pointed out a serious problem with the guidelines - it contended that a close look at the guidelines submitted to the court by FSSAI reveals they will prove to be totally ineffective in addressing requests of the PIL. CSE experts allege that the food industry has worked to influence the expert group's guidelines. as a result of which a diluted set of guidelines has been submitted to the court. "This is not the same set of guidelines, equipped to safeguard the health of school children, which was developed by those who are best suited to the issue like eminent pediatricians, public health specialists and nutritionists as members of the Working Group", CSE said. The director general of CSE, Sunita Narain said, "We believe that to begin with, carbonated beverages, sugar sweetened non-carbonated beverages, chips and other fried packed foods, potato fries and confectionery items should be completely banned from schools and near-by areas of 500 yards." 
Notably, non-industry members of the FSSAI working group have got the industry representatives on the group to endorse this list of junk foods. Narain adds "The question now is about what is to be done with such junk food items which are high in salt, sugar and fats. We think the court is seriously addressing this issue of huge public health concern."

 

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