Why govt cannot escape dangers of junk food

Health minister says that there is no plan to define junk food

prahlad

Prahlad Rao | July 30, 2015 | New Delhi


#junk food   #health   #maggi   #blood pressure   #diabetes  

The government has not learnt anything even after Maggi controversy. It is equipped to do but the will is lacking. The union government has shamelessly admitted today that it has not defined what constitutes junk food.

Minister of state (health and family welfare) Shripad Naik informed the Rajya Sabha today that there is no proposal under consideration of the ministry to define junk food under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006.

Knowledgeable parent is aware of the dangers of junk food but it is rarely enforced leading to various ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Research has shown that junk food causes energy depletion and the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time. It is prime reason for obesity in children. As junk food affects growth of a child regular consumption of junk food negatively impacts self-esteem and confidence.

But the government is casual about these effects that tell on nation’s social cost. Currently, only guidelines for making available wholesome, nutritious, safe and hygienic food to school children have been framed by the Central Advisory Committee of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The minister said the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), ICMR has not conducted a study on junk food. A study had, however, been conducted by NIN to assess ill-effects of consumption of carbonated water beverages (CWBs) on the health of adolescents and young adults, which showed higher increments of body fat in young consumers.

The best the administration has done is to educate the consumers about the food safety through advertisements in media, campaigns launched by the FSSAI on social media, documentary films on YouTube, educational booklets, information on FSSAI website, stalls at fairs/melas/events and mass awareness campaigns.

These are hardly sufficient in the face of the food companies budget. These companies are spending millions of dollars to design foods with addictive sensations. The addictive sensations are shape, texture, chemical additives and forms that tricks brain into craving for junk food.

Last year, the US passed a law to keep children out of junk food consumption. Under the US Department of Agriculture law, schools will no longer be allowed to sell unhealthy junk food in their cafeterias, vending machines, student stores, or at bake sale fundraisers. Schools must replace these unhealthy items with a number of nutritious options, which also come with their own requirements.

Junk food generally refers to foods that contribute lots of calories but little nutritional value. The junk foods is low in satiation value (people don't tend to feel as full when they eat them) which can lead to overeating. Another problem is that junk food tends to replace other, more nutritious foods.

Most "junk food" falls into the categories of either "snack food" or "fast food." And then there are things like breakfast cereals. They seem innocent enough, but not.

Junk foods are low in fiber, high in palatability (it tastes good), it offers a high number of calories in a small volume, it's high in fat and high in sugar in liquid form.

We have neither laws nor any enforcement mechanism. There is another Maggie is waiting to happen.

Comments

 

Other News

Covid norms relaxed; Mumbai restaurants, shops to remain open longer

After extending timings of shops and restaurants as well as the reopening of cinema halls and theatres under specified SOPs from October 22, in view of the festive cheer, the Maharashtra government has allowed restaurants and eateries to remain open till 12AM and shops and establishments to function till 1

Global Hunger Index data collection flawed: Arvind Panagariya

Rubbishing the recently released Global Hunger Index 2021, wherein India has slipped to 101 position to be placed below Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University and former vice chairman, NITI Aayog, has said that data collection and methodologies used

‘Blue Zones’ concept of healthy living and its relevance in India

A long life span free from diseases and disability, the so-called healthy aging, has been a matter of prime interest to humanity. It is widely held that the life expectancy is a function of interplay between various genetic and environmental factors. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that on

Motilal Nehru too had petitioned for release of his son: Vikram Sampath

Defence minister Rajnath Singh’s statement, that Mahatma Gandhi had asked V.D. Savarkar to file a mercy petition before the British, has ignited a debate. Vikram Sampath, a historian and author of a recent biography of Savarkar, says two weeks after Jawaharlal Nehru was lodged in Nabha jail, his

Gati Shakti: The National Master Plan

The launch of the Gati Shakti master plan will be a booster dose for India growth story. The plan, as the name indicates, will ensure Gati, i.e., speed and Shakti, i.e., empowerment to the ₹1 trillion national infrastructure pipeline. The plan will break inter-ministerial silos. For examp

Centre misusing probe agencies for political gains: Pawar

Hitting back at the central government in a strongly worded attack, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has said Bhartiya Janata Party is misusing central investigative agencies for political benefits. “Central agencies including ED, CBI and NCB are being used for polit

Visionary Talk with Dr Arvind Panagariya, Professor, Columbia University & Former VC, NITI Aayog



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter