FSSAI ban on junk food sale around schools: 2 cr shops to lose over 75% business, traders tell govt

CAIT alleged that the ban is in contravention to the government’s moves such as Vocal for Local and Atmnirbhar Bharat.

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Traders’ body The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a letter to the Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has demanded the withdrawal of the recent notification by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that banned the sale of junk food to students in school premises or in an area within fifty meters vicinity from the school gate. CAIT said that the move would cost mom-and-pop shops over Rs 15 lakh crore in business annually. “Nearly 2 crore small and tiny shopkeepers (such as kiranas, pan shops etc) will lose more than 75 per cent of their business amounting to about Rs 15 lakh crore per year,” the body said even as traders continue to recover from the Covid impact.

“Foods which are referred to as food products high in saturated fat or trans-fat or added sugar or sodium (HFSS) cannot be sold to school children in school canteens/ mess premises/ hostel kitchens or in an area within fifty meters from the school gate in any direction,” FSSAI had said in a statement earlier this month. FSSAI added that schools should ensure that businesses manufacturing HFSS food are “barred from products advertising and marketing of such foods” through logos, brand names, posters, textbook covers etc. The authority, however, said that sufficient transition time will be given to all stakeholders before enforcing these regulations.

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However, CAIT alleged that the ban is in contravention to the government’s moves such as Vocal for Local and Atmnirbhar Bharat. “The demography of every city in the Country is such that there will be no space where shops do not exist within 50 meters in any direction of any kind of school including Nursery, KG, crèche, coaching centre, mid-level and high-level school and cand other types of educational Institutions,” CAIT’s Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement. The body claimed that this would reduce the footfall for shopkeepers and “dampen the very spirit of Ease of Doing Business specifically for the hardworking entrepreneurial class of small business owners and traders.”

FSSAI, on the other hand, has asked schools to have a “comprehensive program for promoting safe food and balanced diets amongst school children, and to convert school campus into Eat Right Campus”. It also suggested schools to engage nutriontists and dieticians to prepare a menu for a safe and balanced diet in the school.

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