Table of Content
FSSAI’s Proactive Fight Against Diabetes – Effective Labeling To Raise Consumer Awareness
FSSAI has urged for Mandatory Informative Labeling of High Fat, Salt and Sugar on Packaged Foods to fight obesity and diabetes.
The population in our country as on 9th July, 2019, is estimated to be a whopping 1,368,978,811.The stress on our resources are growing everyday.
The WHO has stated that Diabetes is a growing challenge in India. They have estimated that 8.7% of the Indian population affected by diabetes like between the ages of 20 and 70 years.
Why are so many people suffering from diabetes?
Due to the prevalence of obesity and larger number of people becoming overweight.
The Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent for around the world and affects both adults and teenagers. It is manageable and preventable unlike Type 1 which is often due to our genetic makeup.
Type 2 is caused due to our eating habits, lack of exercise and tendency to put on excessive weight. Obesity is the prime cause of Type 2 diabetes and now it is often seen in teenagers and younger age-group population.
This infographic breaks down the enormity of Diabetes for you.
The sad part is Diabetes cannot be cured!
The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through alteration of our life-style.
- Developing a habit of exercising regularly
- Reducing weight
- Improving dietary choices and altering nutritional intake
FSSAI’s Mandatory Informative Labeling of High Fat, Salt and Sugar on Packaged Foods
The steady spread of Diabetes in the country’s population has far – reaching economic implications for individuals and our nation(Yesudian, Grepstad, Visintin, & Ferrario, 2014).
This has prompted the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken upon themselves the task of educating and creating awareness in Indians about the risks of obesity through the packaged food that they are consuming both in terms of ingredients and quantity per serving.
India is following the steps adopted by other developed countries by improving the system of labels on packaged food(Zhang, Liu, Liu, Xue, & Wang, 2014). FSSAI have set out guidelines and the layout of information on labels to enable consumers to quickly become aware and take empowered action.
Two regulations have been drawn up and notified in 2018.
- Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations 2018
- Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations 2018
What is being expected on the labels?
- The regulations state that sensitive information like ingredients resulting in High Fat, Sugar or Salt must be displayed in front of the pack using fonts with red color.
- The rule is already in place to mention the contents like fat, sugar and salt with their quantities on the labels.
- The current regulation puts the onus of highlighting Recommended Dietary Allowance on the Food Business Operators and Food Processors. They must highlight it in the front of the pack for greater visibility.
Are these guidelines newly introduced? No.
Food Processors are printing much of this information at the back of the pack.
For e. g.: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health was being printed on packs but it is only later that the packing was altered with gruesome images of the ill effects of smoking. The objective was to shock the consumer and increase awareness.
FSSAI is insisting that the same should be printed right on front of the pack in color and size such that consumers “do not miss” the information.
What should Food Business Operator do?
- Food Business Operators must get ahead of the regulations and understand the implications on their packaging design.
- The requirements will affect the label design and available space. The FBO must comply with all the requirements of the regulation.
- They must become intimately aware of Schedule I, II, III and IV of the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018.
- The provisions in these schedules must be adhered to in the packaging design and the authenticity of the claims must be maintained for scrutiny.
The changes will be implemented as we move forward. It is recommended that Food Processors’ take proactive action and become compliant with these guidelines in labeling.
If you have questions or need help with your labeling information and layout queries, please email us.
- Yesudian, C. A., Grepstad, M., Visintin, E., & Ferrario, A. (2014). The economic burden of diabetes in India: a review of the literature. Globalization and Health. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-014-0080-x
- Zhang, Q., Liu, S., Liu, R., Xue, H., & Wang, Y. (2014). Food Policy Approaches to Obesity Prevention: An International Perspective. Current obesity reports, 171-182.
- Draft notification on “Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulation, 2019” [Uploaded on : 02-07-2019] https://fssai.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/Draft_Notification_Display_Labelling_02_07_2019.pdf