Healthy food makes our kids feel better, grow better and learn better and the right eating habits can be engrained in children from a young age. To ensure safe and wholesome food for school children FSSAI has proposed a draft regulation titles Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and healthy diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019. At the heart of these regulations is a fundamental idea to make it clear what is healthy for children and what is not.
Ten-point charter of this regulation include
- The school authority itself and food business operators (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 campuses into Eat Right School focusing safe and healthy food, local and seasonal food and no food waste according to the specified benchmarks.
4. Encourage school authority to promote the consumption of a safe and balanced diet in the school according to 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 according to the direction issued by the Food Authority or the Commissioners of Food safety.
6. Nutritionists, dietitians may be engaged by the school authority to assist in the preparation of the 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 the school campus, including through logos, brand names, posters, and textbook covers.
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 these regulations and to ensure the 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 finalized for implementation. Meanwhile, FSSAI would direct State Food Authorities and Department of School Education to frame healthy diets for school children in accordance with the general guidance given in this regulation.