Acting upon the recommendations issued by the Centre over two years ago, the Maharashtra Government has banned the sale of unhealthy junk food in all school canteens. The state has instructed schools that food “high in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) should not be sold in school canteens.”
The Maharashtra government has also suggested heathier choices to junk food. The decision has been taken by the government considering the rise in childhood obesity and related health disorders.
Government resolution passed by the school education department states that "HFSS food has very little vitamins and minerals... (Their consumption raises the chance of obesity) and other related diseases among children. The effects can be seen on a child's academic performance."
School principals have also been asked to take adequate measures to ensure implementation of the same.
As per the government’s directive, the heathier alternatives that have been suggested include rice, pulses, vegetables, chapattis, wheat upma, payasam, idly and Wada sambhar, lemonade, jaljeera and coconut water. Although many state-run schools do not have canteens, these instructions can be said to apply to vendors who supply prepacked or precooked food in schools during lunch breaks.
The Union Ministry of women and child development (MWCD) was alarmed by the junk food being consumed by children, set up a committee under the director of National institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. The panel concluded that HFSS (High in Fat, Salt and Sugar) food can increase obesity, dental problems, diabetes and even heart problems.