INDIA: Maharashtra government ban selling of junk foods in the school canteens

In an attempt to promote healthy eating and reduce obesity rates among school going kids, the Maharashtra government has imposed an official ban on the sale of junk food in school canteens from Monday. As per reports, the state government has issued a a broad list of 12 food items such as potato chips, noodles, carbonated soft drinks, pizza, burger, cakes, biscuits, buns, pasteries and other foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS). As per the Government Resolution (GR) issued by the department on Monday, school canteens will now have to to sell items like rotis made of wheat, rice, vegetables, pulses, idli and vada sambar, coconut water, lemonade, jaljira and other healthy items. “The amount of sugar, salt and fat in HFSS foods and the lack of nutrients is causing obesity and other ailments among school-going children, which is affecting their academic performance and overall well-being. To curb this, junk food items mentioned in the GR need to be banned from school canteens,” states the GR. The move to ban the sale of junk food came in the wake of a committee formed by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare under the director of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. The panel in its report had noted that foods high in fats, salt and sugar (HFSS) increased chances of obesity, diabetes, dental and heart problems later in life.

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