In a significant decision, Maharashtra government on Monday banned the sale of junk food in school cafeterias.
After the state government’s decision, vegetable khichdi, Rajma-rice and idli-vada will be among the dishes that will replace pizza, noodles and pastries in school canteens.
The Maharashtra government order has imposed a ban on sale of ‘High in Fat, Salt and Sugar’ (HFSS) food at school canteens across the state.
A Government Resolution (GR) listed 12 categories of foods which cover potato chips, noodles, carbonated soft drinks, pizza, burger, cakes, biscuits, buns, pastries, etc., which can not be sold.
It also gives a list of 20 items that can be sold, which include wheat roti, vegetable pulav, idli-vada, coconut water and jaljira.
The GR said the Union Government had set up a Task Force under the chairmanship of Director, National Nutrition Institute, Hyderabad to promote consumption of healthy food by children in schools and to ban sale of junk food.
The task force in its report said that junk food containing high levels of fat, salt and sugar and very little nutritional content leads to obesity, dental diseases, diabetes and heart ailments in later life.
Taking note of recommendations of the Task Force, the state government decided to impose a ban on junk food in school canteens, the GR said.
The GR also calls for creating awareness among children about consuming nutritional food. Schools should counsel students on this, it said.
The broad list of 12 banned food categories covers fried food items like 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 that are allowed to be sold are 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.
(With PTI inputs)