Union Government has been informed by the Delhi High court that guidelines on regulating junk food and aerated drinks to be sold in and around schools will be soon be completed and will be out by July-end this year.
Appearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajeeve Mehra said private firm AC Nielsen QRG-MARG Pvt Ltd is in the process of framing of guidelines to regulate the sale of foods and carbonated drinks within a vicinity of 500 yards of the school area.
Mr Mehra said the draft guidelines will be completed by July 21 and will be placed before the court. The work of framing guidelines to regulate the prohibition of junk food will involve a major question as to what is the definition of junk food, therefore the food processing companies will have to be consulted before the final draft is prepared, the ASG said.
The Delhi Government counsel told that the Lt Governor will issue directions to the vendors and other junk food sellers only once the guidelines on this issue are finalised.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on July 22. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Rakesh Prabhakar, a lawyer for NGO Uday Foundation, seeking to ban junk food and aerated drinks in and around the schools as it poses health problems.
The HC had last year granted six months’ time to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) asking them to frame guidelines on banning the sale of junk food in and around the schools and other educational institutions.
The court had directed FSSAI to consult the All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) and restaurant associations for framing the guidelines.
AIFPA, in its application, had said it deals with processing of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and milk products and also the manufacturers of biscuits and confectionery products. The AIFPA also said a special category defining as to what comes under the junk food category will have to be made.