New Delhi:The Central government cannot prohibit or restrict ?junk food? or ?proprietary food? such as samosas, jalebis, pizzas and burgers, but will come up with guidelines to make available only healthy food in schools.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday gave six months? time to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to hold deliberations with the experts and frame necessary guidelines to make healthy food available in school canteens. The court has sought a report from FSAAI, along with the guidelines, in July.
According to experts, most junk food have high quantity of trans-fat acids and are low in minerals, vitamins and other essential food nutrients. They are also cited as a reason behind obesity among children.
During the hearing, the ministry, through its affidavit, submitted that FSSAI has set up eight scientific panels and a committee to prescribe standards of various items of food, including those containing trans-fat acid residues, poisonous metals and microbiological parameters.
The affidavit stated that ?junk food? is not defined under the Food Safety Act, and items like samosas, burgers, etc, are classified as ?proprietary and novel? food, which is not unsafe per se but must conform to certain standards and safety parameters.
?The Act does not empower the authorities to ban any particular category of food, and its implementation rests with the state governments. The decision to ban the sale of junk food in educational institutions is an administrative decision, to be taken by the authorities in charge of running such institutions,? stated the affidavit.