Bold, large font for salt, sugar & fat content on packaged foods

FSSAI proposes new norms in its 44th meeting

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FSSAI on salt, sugar, and fat labelling on packages Photo- The Week

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) 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 of FSSAI

The regulator says the amendment aims to empower consumers to better understand the nutritional value of the product they are consuming and make healthier decisions. The draft notification 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) would 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 specifies requirements to mention serving size and nutritional information on the food product label, respectively.

Along with empowering consumers 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 prioritization of the development of clear and distinguish labelling requirements would help in the global effort to combat NCDs.

FSSAI has been issuing advisories from time to time to prevent false and misleading claims. These include advisories sent to eCommerce websites for the removal of the term ‘health drink’ as it is not defined or standardized anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or rules/regulations made thereunder. 

It  had made it mandatory for all food business operators (FBOs) to remove any claim of ‘100% fruit juices’ from the labels and advertisements of reconstituted fruit juices, and regulated the use of the terms wheat flour and refined wheat flour and health claims around multi-source edible vegetable oils etc. These advisories and directives are issued to prevent misleading claims by FBOs.

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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