Punjab Food Authority proposes province-wide ban on fizzy drinks for kids

Punjab Food Authority proposes province-wide ban on fizzy drinks for kids

Banning fizzy drinks in schools is part of campaign to address stunted growth challenge

Recently, Punjab Food Authority slapped ban on fizzy drinks in schools and authority is now ready for banning the sale of such beverages to underage children across the province.

Punjab Food Authority board initially banned fizzy drinks in school canteens in order to address growth issues. These directives are likely to be implemented after the summer vacations.

Talking to a local media outlet, PFA Director General Noorul Amin Mengal explained that “these carbonated drinks are not good for the physical and mental health of growing children”.

He added that in order to protect our future, PFA will be issuing guidelines to food outlets to not hand out carbonated drinks to children below 18 years of age.

According to the ordered notification, anyone under the age of 18 will not be allowed to buy fizzy drinks, PFA is considering a proposal to replace these with juices or flavoured milk.

The initiative against carbonated drinks commenced earlier this month where cafeterias in schools have been advised not to serve them to minors. The implementation of this plan is likely to begin after the summer holidays.

Earlier, Punjab government imposed ban on soft drinks in schools, according to the approved guidelines, food has been placed in three categories – red, yellow and green.

The red category includes food and drinks that should not be available at school canteens, such as carbonated drinks, most canned items, and sweets, toffees, candies, and chocolate.

Food in the yellow category, according to the proposal, should be sold in small quantities and displayed less prominently. Such items include tea, coffee, packed fruit juices, biscuit, ice creams, naan, shawarma, paratha rolls, patties, nuggets, French fries, samosas, pizzas, and burgers.

The third or green category was food that is recommended.  It includes seasonal fruits, fresh fruit juices, fruit chats, chana chats, pastas, sandwiches, rice, flavoured and plain milk, milkshakes, lassi, flavoured yoghurts, eggs, and nuts.

Pakistan is among the countries with a stunted growth problem, which the Punjab Food Authority has taken up as a challenge. The authority, in its recently approved regulations, set new standards for oil and wheat fortification, keeping height and growth disorders in mind. It outlined vitamin A and D levels for oil.

About Saqlain Naqvi

Saqlain Naqvi is an Islamabad-based journalist who has also worked in PR sector previously.
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