`Guidelines on junk food in schools to be framed`

New Delhi: The task of framing guidelines on making available quality and safe food in the schools has been assigned to AC Nielsen QRG-MARG Pvt Ltd, the Delhi High Court was today informed.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) told a bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that in pursuance of the earlier direction, it has given the task to formulate the guidelines to the private firm after inviting proposals from various expert agencies that do similar work.

The court took into records a report submitted by the FSSAI and fixed the hearing on the PIL on March 22 next year.

The report stressed the need for guidelines saying besides the students studying in public schools, there are more than twelve crores children are studying in government-run primary and upper primary schools in the country.

"There are several reported incidents of food poisoning in the schools due to unhygienic food served there," it said adding that hence, it necessitated the framing of guidelines.

Detailing the scope of study and subsequent guidelines, the FSSAI, in its report, today told the court that AC Nielsen QRG-MARG Pvt Ltd will review the present status of the safety and quality of food and also the sanitary and hygiene conditions of the food which is available in the school premises.

The court had earlier in January given six months time to FSSAI for framing guidelines on banning the sale of junk food and aerated drinks in and around educational institutions in the country.

Earlier, the court had also asked the FSSAI to consult the All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA) and restaurant associations for framing the guidelines.

AIFPA, in its application, had said that it deals with processing of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and milk products and also the manufacturers of biscuits and confectionery products and may give some precious pieces of advice to the FSSAI.

The court is hearing the PIL filed by Rakesh Prabhakar, a lawyer for NGO `Uday Foundation` seeking direction banning sale of junk food and aerated drinks in and around schools.