Punjab Food Authority Wants Ban on Carbonated Drinks in School Canteens

The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) is thinking of passing a proposition that would prohibit carbonated drinks in school canteens. This is intended to tackle the increasing health problems linked to the high sugar intake among children of this age.

The food watchdog is recommending that all soft drinks be banned from primary and secondary schools to ensure healthier children. These will be hopefully replaced with healthier drinks such as flavored milk and fresh seasonal juices.

Furthermore, the PFA has also come up with a set of rules which schools should use to replace the current standards with. One of them is that students should no longer be given junk food and be replaced with healthier choices.

PFA intends to replace soft drinks with healthier alternatives in primary and secondary schools

The proposal has not been approved as of yet but the team has to present this in front of the authority at the upcoming board meeting to get approval.

Junk Foods A Leading Cause of Ill-Health

The Director of Punjab Food Authority (PFA), Noorul Amin Mengal, said that junk food and soft drinks were the leading causes of ill health among school-going children. He fully supports the team’s suggestion of completely prohibiting this harmful food from schools all over the province while also saying that “The youth are Pakistan’s future and need to be taken care of.”

According to him canteens should actually serve only healthy foods like flavored milk, fresh seasonal juices, fruits, and boiled eggs to the children in the school. He also added that a proper diet is essential for the physical and mental growth of children.

“The ban on soft drinks will be imposed hopefully after the approval of the PFA board members.”

Food technologist and associate professor of the Forman Christian College University, Dr. Zafar Mehmood, commented that soft drinks are actually immensely dangerous for children of school-growing age. “Soft drinks combined with junk food available at most school canteens create a sort of silent hunger, where the body remains without important nutrients despite the fulfilling feeling.”

Moreover, the professor also added that the excessive intake of these carbonated drinks by growing children leads to a lot of health problems like reduced bone density, stomach disorders, making them hyper-active, while also leading to an increased attention span deficit.

Besides physical health problems, children who are exposed to this diet also experience mental health issues. He also supports the switch to flavored milk calling them a “much wiser option.” For carbonated drinks he said that “If taken after a proper meal, these drinks do not let important minerals dissolve in the body.”

His advice to parents was that they should worry “about the growth of children in later years, and that parents should devise a healthier diet plan at an early stage,” adding that undernourishment was one of the leading causes for stunted growth among growing children in the country and that parents really need to properly plan out their diets.

Campaign for Awareness

The Punjab Food Authority is also planning to launch an awareness drive to encourage healthy food boxes for students because of the fact that the country currently stands in the list of countries around the world with the worst stunted growth problem among children.

This is actually seen as a challenge by the food regulatory authority which is now setting newly approved regulations as standards to be implemented all over the province. A regulation that has been recently approved requires additional fortification of oil and wheat.

The justification given for this fortification by the PFA is that it adds nutrition value and will help with the growth issues that the current generation faces. Oil has to be strengthened with specific levels of vitamin A and D and folic acid, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12 have to be added to wheat.

  • You cannot just ban things. You need to create awareness if something is wrong with facts.
    This is just like stopping mobile phone services to counter terrorism.

    • Awareness? You think those youngsters who smoke cigarettes or ‘sheesha’ don’t know the effects of it? They live in a golden age of information. A simple search on google will provide them everything. Even if Pakistan wastes money on awareness campaigns I’m pretty sure that our younger generation will not refrain from it. “Ek do rozana peene s kya hjaega yr, kch saal km hjaingain na zndgi k.’ Everyone knows the effects of carbonated drinks yet we still drink it. Same story for paan, chaalia et cetera.

  • Recently PFA has made a few very good and bold steps. Hope this continues as the food sector, specially the food items that are consumed mainly by children is the one which needs a check and balance criteria..

  • Pakistan Government should be show onine & on media list of Pure Drinking Water company, Foods & Restaurant who will fulfill of all requirement of PSQCA & Foods Authorities Policies otherwise all banned

  • An Excellent Decision By PFA. But we need to create awareness in public about these acidic drinks.

    • Oh Pakistani public is very chalaak and already aware of all this but the problem is majority of Pakistanis choose to be evil intentionally on purpose. In my Khandaan everyone knows from 10 years old to 100 years that soft drink is bad for health and it flushes calcium from the body, even then I’m the only one who don’t consume soft drink, but everyone else does.

  • Good
    Decision! Junk Food and Carbonated Drinks are already banned in Us Schools.

  • We will ban unhealthy carbonated drinks and introduce healthy Inhaar milk (owned by Hamza Shahbaz)

    • I get that you don’t support the current government but why mention it everywhere?

      Whenever something beneficial happens for Pakistan you guys just swoop in and tie it with government anyway.

      Please Refrain or atleast try.

      • Everything which favors N league seems beneficial to you. Punjab assembly was not elected to pass resolutions on drinks or phone packages. For this purpose watchdogs are used worldwide.
        Please research or at least try

          • Bro, look it from this perspective. The assembly was elected to resolve the issues which province is facing like load shading, water shortage, security for a common person, education, reforms in police etc. But all they doing are gimmicks to divert public attention from real issues.
            On paper it looks very good to provide education to children but its not something which the ministry of livestock should be doing. You must have heard in past Punjab assembly passed bills to ban night packages of cellular companies.
            We need to make them accountable for what they are getting paid from taxpayers money. I hope you understand my point

            • I am based in Punjab province, I’ve seen progress in terms of electricity supply and much lessen load shedding period, a lot of measures taken for security, infrastructure development even in villages, education and health but I am not sure about police.

  • It is acutally a good step. Would be so much better if it is implemented all over Pakistan in every school and college.

  • Good decision. But what about Juices box that doesn’t contain any fruit (pure chemicals only) and various #notsofamous mineral water….aren’t those hazardous too?

    • You are right, Packed Juices also have preservatives and artificial flavors, but carbonated drinks have too bad hazardous health effects.

  • An awareness campaign has it’s own merits. What is important that such a ban be imposed at all levels at all schools all across the country. Suggesting ‘ healthy food boxes’ may sound a great alternative for the elitist schools, but taking of flavored milk and boiled eggs would be too far fetched for the poorer parents, and a dream, just a dream, at the government schools. We may talk of the youth today as being the future of Pakistan tomorrow, but unless the government, at both the federal and provincial levels, raise their education budget by at least 20 times, and evolve an effective machinery to honestly spread the resources for quality education coupled by a state subsidized ‘ lunch box – really healthy and wholesome’ our future will remain unhealthy and bleak as ever.
    And the first step is to accept the existence of, and root out, corruption – the Panama case is a marker!

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