Maharashtra Govt Bans Junk Food In School Canteens, Cites Obesity Fears

Addressing the issue of child obesity and related issues, the Maharashtra government has banned sale of junk food in school cafeterias across the state. Instead of junk food, students would be served vegetable khichdi, rajma-rice, and idli-vada. These healthy alternatives will replace junk food items such as pizza, noodles, and pastries in school canteens. A government Resolution (GR) has listed 12 categories of foods which include potato chips, noodles, carbonated soft drinks, pizza, burger, cakes, biscuits, buns, pastries, etc. which can no longer be sold in school canteens.

The GR has also listed 20 items which can be sold to school children including wheat roti, vegetable pulav, idli-vada, coconut water, and jaljira. The GR said that the union government had set up a Task Force under the chairmanship of Director, National Nutrition Institute, Hyderabad with an aim to promote consumption of healthy food by school children and to ban sale of junk food.

In it’s report, the Task Force said that junk food containing high level of fat, salt, and sugar and with very less nutritional content where responsible for obesity, dental diseases, diabetes, and heart ailments in later life.

Keeping in mind the recommendations of the Task Force, the Maharashtra government decided to ban sale of junk food in school canteens. The GR has also called for schools to create awareness among students about importance of consuming nutritional food.

The food items which are banned include potato chips, sherbets, ice gola, carbonated soft drinks, non-carbonated soft drinks, rasgullas, gulab- jamuns, pedha, kalakand, noodles, pizza, burger, tikka, pani- puri, all kinds of toffees, chocolates and candies, jalebis, imartis, all kinds of sweets, cakes, biscuits, buns, pastries, jams and jellies.

The food items which are allowed to be sold include rotis made of wheat, parathas, multi-grain rotis, rice, vegetable pulavs, rice with cereals and pulses, rice and black gram, halva made out of wheat with channa, sweet daliya, rice with rajma, idli-vada sambar, kheer, firni, milk and milk products like curd, lassi and buttermilk, vegetable sandwich, vegetable khichdi, coconut water, shikanji and jaljira.

News Source: NDTV

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