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FSSAI Food Labeling Laws Will Help Fight Diseases Upholds CSE
FSSAI is moving ahead with food safety for consumers on a war footing. Few weeks ago, FSSAI has proposed a draft notification on Labelling and Display Of food products Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed the draft amendments proposed by FSSAI to identify unhealthy products. CSE’s Director General Sunita Narain observes that it will be an effective and practical solution to help create awareness and fight against the growth of diabetes and obesity in the population.
What are the FSSAI’s proposed labeling changes?
- The key changes proposed by FSSAI are:
- FSSAI has called for red color coding for foods containing more than the threshold limit of salt, sugar and fats. It means all packaged food products which have high calories, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugar and salt will be easily identifiable for common man as the packs will have a prominent RED color.
- Also the label shall include how much of the RDA is exhausted by eating per serving of the packaged food This will enable people to know the limit of daily consumption that will be healthy and safe.
- Front-of-the-lack labelling is another game – changer. Manufacturers must comply by displaying the number of calories and quantity of salt/ sugar/ fats in each serving.
- It is mandatory to declare quantity of salt, added sugar, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol on the label.
Additional Suggestions of CSE to FSSAI on the Draft Regulation
CSE has made some more explicit suggestions to the draft regulation.
- The term ‘sodium’ should be replaced by salt or common salt as it will be easier for the layman to comprehend.
- The serving size should be standardized as per compliance. . In the absence of the guidance, every manufacturer will be free to make their own basis for printing the same.
- The food companies may exploit the scope of using the terminologies like “added sugar” and “saturated fat” to their benefit. The regulation must enforce that the front – of – the – packs must declare the total fats or sugar content as the basic ingredients also too have their default salt and sugar. Common man is unaware of the same.
Even the deputy director general of CSE – Chandra Bhushan echoes similar views on the impact of high fat, salt and sugar content in foods on our health. CSE is of the view that today, “diabetes and hypertension are household phenomenon” in India. One of the bigger causes is these packaged food items which use high quantity of fats, salts and sugar but do not highlight it on the packs.
CSE is of the opinion that with the level of literacy in India and the size of the rural market, it is mandatory to offer visual guidance and indicators to buyers/ consumers and help them identify junk food.