It would also study food habits of school children, food handling and hygiene practices in school kitchens, safety standards of ingredients in foods prepared at school canteens.

The Union Government on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had given a contract to market research company A C Nielson ORG-MARG Pvt. Ltd. for framing guidelines to make available quality and safe foods at schools across the country.

Counsel for the Government submitted before a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. K. Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that before framing the guidelines, the company, among other things, would review the present status of safety and food quality and hygiene conditions in school premises.

It would also study food habits of school children, food handling and hygiene practices in school kitchens, safety standards of ingredients in foods prepared at school canteens, mess or under mid-day meal scheme and availability of infrastructure, counsel for the Government submitted.

The Court had in January this year given six months to FSSAI to hold deliberations with experts and frame necessary guidelines to make healthy food available at school canteens.

The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation by non-government organisation Uday Foundation seeking a complete ban on sale of junk food and carbonated drinks in school premises as well as within their 500-yard radius.

The petitioner submitted that it had been proved conclusively through researches that the fat-rich and fibre-deficient junk foods and carbonated drinks affected the mental and physical growth of children.

The petitioner sought framing of a national policy for school canteens to ensure quality and nutritious food to children across the country during their formative years.

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