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FSSAI to mandate labelling of salt, sugar, saturated fat on packaged food

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Food regulator FSSAI on July 6 approved changes to nutritional information labelling on packaged food items, proposing that total salt, sugar and saturated fat should be displayed in bold letters as well as bigger font size.

In an official statement, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said it has approved “a proposal to display nutritional information regarding total sugar, salt and saturated fat in bold letters and relatively increased font size on labels of packaged food items”.

The decision to approve the amendment in the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 regarding nutritional information labelling was taken in the 44th meeting of the Food Authority, held under the chairmanship of Apurva Chandra, Chairperson, FSSAI.

“The amendment aims to empower consumers to better understand the nutritional value of the product they are consuming and make healthier decisions,” the regulator said.

The draft notification for the said amendment would now be put in the public domain for inviting suggestions and objections.

The information regarding per serve percentage (%) contribution to Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) will be given in bold letters for total sugar, total saturated fat and sodium content. Regulation 2 (v) and 5(3) of FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulation, 2020 specify requirements to mention serving size and nutritional information on the food product label, respectively.

“Along with empowering consumers to make healthier choices, the amendment would also contribute towards efforts to combat the rise of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and promote public health and well-being. The prioritisation of the development of clear and distinguish labelling requirements would help in the global effort to combat NCDs,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Further, FSSAI has been issuing advisories from time to time to prevent false and misleading claims. These include advisories sent to e-commerce website for removal of the term ‘Health Drink’ as it is not defined or standardized anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or rules/regulations made thereunder, apart from directive mandating all Food Business Operators (FBOs) to remove any claim of ‘100% fruit juices’ from the labels and advertisements of reconstituted fruit juices, the use of the term wheat flour/ refined wheat flour, the advertisement and marketing of ORS along with prefix or suffix, nutrient function claim for multi-source edible vegetable oils etc. These advisories and directives are issued to prevent misleading claims by FBOs.

 

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Senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; States and Union Territories attended the meeting. Representatives from industry associations, consumer organizations, research institutes and farmers’ organisations were also present in the meeting.

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