Proposes ten-point charter
It is important that right eating habits should be engrained in the children right since the early childhood. The importance of healthy and balanced diet leads to development of cognitive ability of children and help them learn better and grow healthy.
With the aim to ensure safe and wholesome food for School children, FSSAI has finalized an important regulation on Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and balanced diets for Children in School) Regulations, 2020. 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:
- The School Authority itself/FBOs contracted by the School Authority that are 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.
- Foods which are referred to as food products high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium (HFSS) cannot be sold to school children in school canteens/ mess premises/ hostel kitchens or in an area within fifty meters from the school gate in any direction.
- Schools to be encouraged to adopt a comprehensive program for promoting Safe food and balanced diets amongst school children, and to convert school campus into Eat Right Campus focusing on provision of safe and healthy food, local and seasonal food and developing practices amongst kids no food waste as per the specified benchmarks.
- 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). Nutritionists, dietitians may be engaged by the School authority to assist in the preparation of menu for the children, periodically.
- School Authority shall ensure that a 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.
- 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.
- FBOs manufacturing HFSS food products barred from advertising and marketing of such foods to children in school premises including through logos, brand names, posters, textbook covers etc. or in an area within fifty meters from the school gate in any direction.
- Regular inspection of premises to ensure that safe, balanced and hygienic food is served to students and a Health and Wellness Ambassador Health and Wellness team, may be appointed as the nodal persons to monitor availability of safe, balanced and hygienic food.
- Public authorities like Municipal Corporation or any other local body or Panchayat in an area, as may be notified, in addition to State Food Authority shall also ensure the compliance of these regulations.
- Creating a sub-committee by the State Level Advisory Committee to monitor the implementation of these regulations and to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food to school children.
These regulations, after consideration of stakeholder comments and finalization, are now notified. Sufficient transition time will be given to all stakeholders before enforcing these regulations. Meanwhile FSSAI would 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