‘Eat Right Campus:’ FDA asks schools to ensure healthy food in tiffins of students

Around 500 schools asked to encourage parents pack healthy food in tiffins

Nagpur: In a significant move, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Nagpur, has taken the initiative to approach schools and colleges and make them aware about safe food practices and create ‘Eat Right Campus’.

Under the initiative, the FDA has sent letters to around 500 schools asking them to encourage parents pack healthy food in the tiffins of children. Acting on the FDA letters, the schools issued guidelines to parents and have urged them no to pack junk food in tiffins of children.

Currently, most of the canteens of schools and colleges serve unhealthy, junk food full of fats, sugar, salt and excessive calories such as ‘Vada Pav,’ Noodles etc. Students grab these unhealthy stuff on daily basis which is harmful to health. In a recent survey conducted by FDA, it was found that the students having food for three days in a week are overweight compared to other students. Sugar levels in the students studying in class 11 and 12 have also been found at higher levels. In this situation, such students could face heart ailments in the next 10 years. Alarmed by the facts as well as to ensure healthy future of students, the FDA has, from July 7, 2019, has directed the schools and colleges in Maharashtra to get rid of pizza, burger, ice-cream, chocolates and serve a healthy and tasty menu instead.

The FDA survey further revealed that tiffins of 60 percent of students of schools and colleges contained junk food. As such, change of menu in canteens only will not work as far as healthy food is concerned. Parents will have to be convinced about healthy food practices and ensure junk food find no place in tiffins of students. Concerned over the unhealthy food in tiffins, the FDA has sent letters to around 500 schools and colleges in Nagpur district and stressed for healthy food practice. On the other hand, 171 schools on their own have asked the parents to pack healthy food in tiffins of their children. The FDA on its part has conducted workshops in 450 schools and colleges and the students were directly told about healthy food practices.

FDA Nagpur’s Joint Commissioner C B Pawar said that FDA teams in Maharashtra have given the responsibility to implement two campaigns. First is to make educational institutions aware of guidelines for providing wholesome and nutritious food to children. Second is guidelines on food safety, hygiene and sanitation for food available in school canteens. Visits, workshops, and inspections will continue, said Pawar.