The Delhi High Court has accepted the draft guidelines to curb the sale of junk foods in and around schools. The court has asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to create regulations and implement the guidelines within three months.
It has also directed the Delhi government and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to implement the guidelines in schools even before the FSSAI frames rules under the Food Safety and Standards Act.
The draft guidelines submitted to the court last year, include measures such as restriction on the availability of High Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS) foods, such as chips, fried foods, sugar sweetened carbonated beverages, sugar sweetened non-carbonated beverages, ready-to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers, potato fries and confectionery items.
The guidelines also suggest the schools to set up a canteen policy to provide healthier substitutes among several other measures and educate students and parents about the ill effects of unhealthy food habits.
The bench of Justice refused to allow the use of the word "junk food " after observing that the draft guidelines had not used the term "junk" but had used the term, HFSS foods.
The court said, "When an expert body constituted for this very purpose and in performance of its statutory duties has framed the guidelines, without there being any specific challenge thereto, we do not consider appropriate on our part to tinker with it."
The judgment has been issued on a PIL filed in 2010 by the NGO Uday Foundation to limit the sale of junk food and unhealthy eating habits among children in Delhi. The FSSAI guidelines will apply to the whole of the country.