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Draft Notification on Labeling And Display by FSSAI

Draft Notification on Labeling And Display by FSSAI

There has been a spate of changes in Food Safety and Standards Regulation in India in the last one year. A recent draft notification has been issued titled – Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulation, 2019. What are the key sections and factors incorporated in this draft? General Labelling Requirement List of ingredients […]

Draft or Gazette:  Draft

There has been a spate of changes in Food Safety and Standards Regulation in India in the last one year. A recent draft notification has been issued titled – Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulation, 2019.

What are the key sections and factors incorporated in this draft?

  • General Labelling Requirement
    • List of ingredients in descending order of their weight or volume
    • Food additives to be mentioned
    • If animal fat is used, the source must be mentioned
    • For meat products, the name of the source of the meat must be declared
    • Declaration of veg logo is modified to green triangle inside the square.
    • A compound ingredient must be mentioned with its sub-ingredients
    • Allergy causing agents must be highlighted- like crustacean, gluten, dairy products, poultry, peanuts etc.
    • Nutritional information is a contentious issue.
      • The manufacturer must mention if the product contains the following:
        • Sugar
        • Added sugar
        • Fat
        • Dietary Fiber
        • Nutrient
      • The label must have the contribution of the product to Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).
      • The idea of serving size is to ensure that people are aware of the quantity that is safe for consumption. Anything beyond that will be unhealthy. Serving size varies from product to product and does not have a defined metric system yet the draft expects atleast common household measuring item like spoon or cup to be defined.
      • Labeling and printing location of the information is also critical. The draft insists on printing indication of High Fat, Salt or Sugar in Red color. This is important as many people are not literate or educated enough to analyze the impact of the content. They must be made aware through visual aids.
      • Even the food service establishments are expected to highlight the allergy information in the menu card.
      • The establishments must prominently display “An average adult requires 2,000 kcal energy per day, however, calorie needs may vary.”
    • Labelling requirements of non-retail container– Must include name of the food, net quantity, FSSAI Logo and License number, date marking, lot No.
    • Labelling of food additives when sold as such.

Issues of dissent

These changes are not being well received by the food and beverages industry. They are of the opinion that government is trying to club food items just like alcohol and tobacco with these detailed warning.

The players in the sugar industry are particularly miffed. They feel that it will affect their business but have no comments about the benefits of these informative labeling.

But are they right or the government is working in favor of the billion plus Indians?

The draft is what Indians need

The population is more than 1,300,000,000 and growing every day. According to the WHO, more Indians are suffering from Diabetes, CVD and Obesity issues.

Obesity directly affects Blood pressure and Type – 2 Diabetes. Blood pressure causes various cardiovascular diseases.

It is not only emotionally draining and cause psychological impact but drastically impact the economic condition of families where people are lifelong dependent on medicines.

Look at the graphs below:

Source: (Dorairaj, Panniyammakal, & Roy, 2016)

Source: (Dorairaj, Panniyammakal, & Roy, 2016)

Source: (Dorairaj, Panniyammakal, & Roy, 2016)

These lifestyle diseases can be controlled if we provide necessary information to people who are having these food items.

The causes of ill-health among Indians are:

  • Poor diet, eating junk food which adds calories that are not needed as per lifestyle. The excess calories are converted to fat and stored in various parts of the body
  • Insufficient intake of essential nutrients
  • Use of food having excessive sugar, salt or fat (more than the recommended daily allowance)

Thus, this draft is right for Indians at the moment when obesity is doubling at a rapid pace and more people are suffering from health issues due to bad diet instead of alcohol or tobacco.

The draft is expected

  • To force FBOs to improve their labeling and issue proper information
  • To increase awareness of the masses who will slowly read the information
  • To reduce health challenges for people and therefore improve the country’s productivity

References

Draft Source: https://www.fssai.gov.in/notifications.php?notification=draft-notification

Bi-lingual Draft Regulation Copy – https://www.fssai.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/Draft_Notification_Display_Labelling_02_07_2019.pdf

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