New packaged food labelling norms for more transparency on salt, sugar & fat content

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 09, 2017

Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is finalising new labelling norms for packaged food companies, which is expected to include provisions to ensure more transparency on sodium, sugar and saturated fat content in processed food.

Expert group suggestions

The new norms will incorporate recommendations of an expert group which has proposed positive nutritional labelling and has proposed making it mandatory for packaged food companies to disclose total calories/energy value, amount of carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein and sodium on their labels.

The expert group was constituted by FSSAI in 2015 to provide recommendations on various issues, including labelling requirements for packaged food and regulatory limits for fat, sugar and salt in processed food among others.

The expert group has made several recommendations such as banning advertising of food high in fat, salt and sugar on children television channels or during children shows. It has also suggested that celebrity endorsements of such foods should be discouraged. It has also recommended imposition of additional tax on packaged foods with high salt, high sugar and high fat content.

When contacted, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, told BusinessLine: “These are wide-ranging recommendations that require action by various stakeholders. The recommendations will be incorporated in the new labelling regulations, which we are in the process of finalising. The Authority will be taking up the labelling regulations in its meeting this month, which will then be sent to the government as part of the due process.”

On its website, FSSAI said the expert group’s report serves as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products. After the report was approved by the scientific committee of FSSAI, it has been put in the public domain by the regulator.

Other recommendations include encouraging industry for voluntary reformulation of food products to reduce the content of saturated fats,sugar and salt in packaged food. It has also recommended periodic monitoring of fat, salt and sugar intakes at national level.

Published on May 09, 2017
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