Himachal HC orders complete ban on junk food items, wafers and Kurkure in state

In a landmark judgment, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday cleared the decks for a complete ban on sale of potato chips, wafers, kurkure and all other junk food-items packed in non-biodegradable and plastic material. The ban would come into effect from January 26, 2014.

The court also vacated its stay on the notification issued by the department of Science,Technology and Environment on June 26, 2013 imposing ban on sale, storage, entry, supply and manufacture of these items in the state.

It directed the government to strictly enforce the ban on these non-essential packaged food items, which however will not include drinking water - both packed and mineral.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice V K Sharma which while hearing the petition filed by some dealers and manufacturers of these items challenging the government's notification.

The court directed the government to ensure that the edible oils/fats shall not be sold in the plastic bottles or pouches and shall be packed in tin containers. Also, from March 31, 2014, the milk and milk products along with edible oils, fats, fruits and vegetables and meat products will be manufactured, transported, sold, packaged and distributed as per regulations of the Food Safety & Standards (Packaging & Labelling) Regulation, 2011, the court ordered.

Passing specific directions for the enforcement of the food regulations, the bench ordered the state government to ensure that from March 31, 2014 onwards, no food stuff including primary and essential food is manufactured, transported, sold, packaged and distributed without conforming to the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 and Food Safety & Standards (Packaging & Labelling) Regulation, 2011.

The Court also directed the state to appoint a food commissioner, if not already appointed, within four weeks. It also directed the government to ensure that no person is permitted to commence or carry on any food business without obtaining license.

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