Junk food to be banned soon in colleges, schools?

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Junk Food
New Delhi, Jul 18: Health Minister has written to health ministers of all states and union territories to consider withdrawal of carbonated beverages and junk foods from school and college canteens, said an affidavit filed by Food and Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The affidavit was filed with the Delhi High Court by FSSAI. The affidavit says that junk food causes diabetes, dental cavities and heart disease.

The Ministry also said that it was in process to issue guidelines to improve the quality and safety of food in educational institutions.

A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO in court sought a ban on the selling of carbonated drinks and junk food within 1,500 feet radius of schools.

The court also asked the Centre, while a PIL was being admitted in Feb, what steps were taken to create awareness among the youngsters on the "harmful effects of increased consumption of junk food".

Cheif Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna are supposed to take a step on the Centre's affidavit on Monday, Jul 18(today).

"The term 'junk food' is not defined under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. But it is understood that any food that has poor nutritional value (and) is considered unhealthy may be called junk food," said Dhir Singh, assistant director, FSSAI in the affidavit.

To strengthen the case further, the Health Ministry quoted from medical researches: "junk food is high in calories, fat, sodium and sugar, contains harmful additives and colour to enhance flavour and is of no use as (it) lacks vitamins, minerals and fibre."

"It is... time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy foods. On one hand, children are taught in classroom about good nutrition... on the other hand, we continue to make junk food available to them," said PIL petitioners, Rahul Verma and lawyer Rakesh Prabhakar to the court of Uday Foundation, an NGO.

A nationwide survey revealed that most schools across the nation allowed access to carbonated drinks and junk in school canteens and shops nearby.

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