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

Ordinances promulgated to boost agriculture

 After the announcement of the decisions by the government for reforms in the agricultural sector for raising the income of the farmers as part of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the president has promulgated two ordinances with the aim of giving a boost to rural India for farmers engaged in a

How Covid-19 can be a boon to slash tobacco disease burden

 The two-month Covid-19 lockdown has been both a bane and a boon for India’s 27 crore tobacco users. With tobacco not included in the list of essential goods and many states explicitly banning chewing tobacco over concerns of spitting, the sharp drop in availability has forced them to undergo wi

Maharshtra braces to face Cyclone Nisarga

 Even as Mumbai fights challenges posed by COVID-19 on multiple fronts and as the  coronavirus cases continue to rise daily, the city now faces a double whammy with the cyclone ‘Nisarga’ slated to make the landfall in Maharashtra Wednesday. A state-wide alert has been issued for Mumba

Harnessing the demographic capital: how effective are skilling programmes?

Probing data concerning increased job creation and the decline in unemployment has been holding the attention of economists and been subject of discussions in several think tanks in the preceding months. The NITI Aayog reports that 3.53 million new jobs were created between September 2017 and February 2018

It`s time to Unlock now, with economic focus

With Lockdown 4 ending Sunday, the home ministry has issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones. The guidelines, issued based on extensive consultations held with states and UTs, will be effective from June 1 till June 30. The first phase of reo

Small kitchen gardens turn saviours for Gujarat tribal families

When the whole world is fighting COVID-19, food and nutrition security has become a major issue. The pandemic has aggravated the existing food crisis in India, especially in rural and tribal regions. There has been less availability of fresh foods in most parts of the country, and the tribal community has



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter