India looks at food marketing restrictions


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On 12 March, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued guidelines recommending the government “to advise” the Advertising Standards Council of India “or any other relevant body” to develop a framework to “regulate the exposure and power of advertisements and promotional activities” targeted at children.

An FSSAI expert Committee was instructed to submit guidelines to the Delhi High Court after the Court received a petition last year from an Indian NGO asking for restrictions on the sale and promotion of “junk foods” in schools.

However, besides a recommendation to ban the promotion and availability of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (“HFSS”) - including "chips, fried foods, sugar sweetened carbonated beverages" - in and within 50 metres of schools, FSSAI guidelines go further and call for a framework which:
  • “Regulates advertisements for foods high in fat, sugar and salt;
  • Limits the reach of such advertisements in the electronic media where school children are the key audience;
  • Restricts celebrity endorsements for such foods and;
  • Regulates promotional activities of such foods targeted to children.”

It also suggests setting up a “school health team” of teachers, parents and school canteen operators to coordinate, implement and monitor the availability of quality and nutritious food in schools.

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