Regulators

Celebrities should not endorse junk food say government guidelines

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NEW DELHI: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has called for strict control on promotions and advertisements that are designed and targeted to children and adolescents across all media.

In guidelines prepared recently with regard to junk food, the FSSAI has also made strong recommendations against celebrity endorsement of such foods.

Consequently, Chief Justice Gorla Rohini and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog in the Delhi High Court have asked amicus curiae N K Kaul to file a detailed response within three weeks segregating what out of the submitted guidelines is enforceable and what is suggestive. The court also stressed on the need to specify the junk food items that should be regulated in schools. The court has now fixed the matter for 6 August.

Criticising the Guidelines which it claims have been ‘diluted’ at the instance of the food industry, the Centre for Science and Environment has said that the a provision put initially in the Guidelines that establishes the need for mandatory self regulation of advertisements has been removed.

Uday Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit NGO filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in 2010 seeking a ban on junk food sold in schools and around them, regulation of junk food promotion and advertisement, and development of a school canteen policy. In response to this, the court had asked the FSSAI to set guidelines, which were framed recently. The FSSAI submitted these guidelines to the court for “making available quality and safe foods in schools”.

The guidelines were developed by an expert group set up by the FSSAI following directions of the court in September 2013.

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