Nutrients of concern: FSSAI proposes bold labelling rules on salt, sugar, saturated fat in packaged food items

Food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on July 6 a proposal to display the information related to ‘nutrients of concern’ in bold letters and also relatively increased font sizes on the labels of packaged food items. 

The move assumes significance amid growing concern over the rise of availability of ultra-processed food — high in sugar, salt and fat — in the country. 

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 draft notification for the 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. 

The FSSAI has, meanwhile, said that it 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 standardised anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or its rules, apart from directive mandating all food business operators (FBOs) to remove any claim of ‘100% fruit juices’ from the labels and s of reconstituted fruit juices,” said the FSSAI. 

“These advisories and directives are issued to prevent misleading claims by FBOs,” it added. 

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