FSSAI Strengthens Food Labeling Standards: Focus on Transparency and Consumer Health

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FSSAI Strengthens Food Labeling Standards: Focus on Transparency and Consumer Health
08 Jul 2024
5 min read

News Synopsis

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is taking a significant step towards empowering consumers with clearer nutritional information on packaged food labels. In a recent meeting, the FSSAI approved a proposal to make crucial details – total sugar, salt, and saturated fat content – stand out more prominently.

Bold Move for Better Awareness

This proposal mandates displaying the aforementioned nutritional information in bold letters and a larger font size. This increased visibility aims to make it easier for consumers to quickly identify these key factors when making informed choices about the food they purchase.

The draft notification for this amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, will now be open for public feedback. This transparency allows for suggestions and objections before finalizing the regulation.

More Than Just Labels: Combating Non-Communicable Diseases

The FSSAI's focus on clearer labeling goes beyond simple information. This initiative is part of a larger strategy to combat the rise of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India. NCDs, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, are a growing public health concern. By making it easier for consumers to understand the sugar, salt, and saturated fat content in packaged foods, the FSSAI hopes to nudge individuals towards healthier choices, potentially reducing the risk of NCDs.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in a press release, highlighted the importance of clear labeling: "The prioritisation of the development of clear and distinct labelling requirements would help in the global effort to combat NCDs."

FSSAI's Ongoing Efforts to Prevent Misleading Claims

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has a strong track record of issuing advisories to prevent false and misleading claims on food labels and advertisements.

Here are some recent examples:

  • "Health Drink" Removed: The term "Health Drink" was deemed misleading as it lacks a standardized definition under relevant regulations. E-commerce websites were advised to remove this term from product descriptions.

  • "100% Fruit Juices" Clarified: The FSSAI mandated that Food Business Operators (FBOs) remove "100% fruit juice" claims from labels and advertisements of reconstituted fruit juices. This ensures transparency and avoids misleading consumers about the actual fruit content.

  • Standardization of Terminology: The FSSAI issued directives to ensure consistent use of terms like "wheat flour/refined wheat flour" and prevent misleading claims about multi-source edible vegetable oils.

A Collaborative Approach for Public Health

The FSSAI meeting involved senior officials from various ministries and representatives from industry, consumer organizations, research institutions, and farmers' organizations. This collaborative approach ensures that all stakeholders have a voice in shaping food safety regulations and promoting public health in India.

Conclusion

The FSSAI's focus on clearer and more prominent nutritional information on food labels is a welcome development for Indian consumers. This initiative empowers individuals to make informed dietary choices, potentially leading to a healthier population and reduced healthcare burden. By prioritizing transparency and combating misleading claims, the FSSAI is paving the way for a more responsible and health-conscious food industry in India.

Here are some additional points you can consider including in the conclusion:

  • The public's feedback during the draft notification stage can further refine the implementation of this regulation.

  • Consumer education initiatives alongside clearer labeling can create a stronger impact on dietary habits.

  • This move aligns with global efforts to promote healthy eating and combat NCDs.

TWN Exclusive