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Pvt school canteens under govt scanner

Pvt school canteens under govt scanner

NEW DELHI: Delhi government's child rights watchdog DCPCR initiated mega scrutiny of private school canteens in the city. Various teams would be visiting the canteens to check how healthy the food is and also if the schools are maintaining the food guidelines. "Delhi Commission for Protection of Child rights is inspecting canteens of schools of the state to ensure that no HFSS food is being served to children in the school canteens," said Ranjana Prasad, a member of DCPCR.

She added that, as per WHO document titled "Marketing of foods High in fat, salt and sugar to children; 2012-2013, foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar are commonly termed as HFSS. HFSS has been found rampant among school children and leads to many health hazards and diseases. "Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has framed guidelines on making wholesome nutritious, safe and hygienic food to school children in India to promote healthy lifestyles, good health, and physical fitness and reduce the risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases," she said.

After the initial inspection, Prasad said that nutritionally adequate and balanced diet plays an important role in appropriate body composition, body mass index and reduced risk of diet-related chronic diseases later in life. Studies have established the link between consumption of HFSS food and obesity, parents should also be sensitized. Obese children are more likely to develop diseases at a younger age, which in turn fuels the chances of premature death and disability.

"The Schools are a place to learn right values and constructive behaviours for a lifetime. Since food consumption at school is a significant part of the overall daily diet, schools should not allow the canteens to promote food habits that negatively impact the health of children," Prasad said.

In view of all these aspects, DCPCR is inspecting schools to know whether they are following the guidelines or not and also suggesting them to go through FSSAI guidelines to maintain food items in the canteen according to it. The objective is to restrict or limit the consumption/availability of most common HFSS food in school premises where the child is without parental supervision.

Sayantan Ghosh

Sayantan Ghosh

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