Norms by July-end on junk food curbs in schools, court told

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The government Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that draft guidelines on regulating sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within a 1,500-foot radius of schools would be made by July-end.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra told a division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath that by July 21 the central government will come up with draft guidelines on making available quality and safe food in schools.

Mehra said a private firm AC Nielsen ORG-MARG had been assigned the work of framing the guidelines.

After making the draft guidelines, “we would seek the opinion of food processing companies and prepare the final guidelines”, added Mehra.

The court would next hear the matter July 22.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation that sought a ban on the sale of junk food near schools.

The Delhi government told the court that the lieutenant governor had the power to issue directions to schools but the same could be done only after the central government framed the guidelines.

The PIL was filed by Rahul Verma of NGO Uday Foundation.

The petition said: “It is time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy food.”

The court in January 2012 asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to frame guidelines within six months.

It had also asked FSSAI to consult the All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA) and restaurant associations before framing the guidelines.

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