According to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s new draft of labeling regulations, manufacturers of soups, chips, biscuits, juices, and other packaged foods will soon have to show red coding on the front of packets of products with a high amount of fat, salt or sugar.
The food industry has showed its concerns over the suggested changes in the labeling rules made up by the FSSAI.
“These regulations are not scientific enough neither practical to be implemented,” said Subodh Jindal, president of All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA). “The salt, sugar and fat content of packaged food depends on the taste requirement of the consumer and is not manufacturers’ choice,” he said.
AIFPA has Tops, Haldiram’s, and Bikanervala among its members. Sector insiders claimed that even common food products, such as fruit juices and milk, will come in the “red” category, as the amount of sugar in fruit juices and fat in milk is higher than the standards being proposed.
“It is recommended that the authority should instead focus on awareness generation of consumer about balanced diet and suitability of different foods as per one’s lifestyle,” Jindal said. “Most food companies have also given various alternatives to consumers and it is a decision of the consumer to choose a suitable version”
According to FSSAI’s draft norms, packaged food manufacturers will also need to show nutritional information, such as amount of saturated fat, trans-fat, calories, added sugar, and sodium per serve on the display of the pack.
“At HUL, our aim is to provide clear, simple labelling on our products to help people make choices for a nutritionally balanced diet. We had committed that by 2015, we will include full nutritional information on the pack, i.e. energy per portion on the front of pack plus eight key nutrients and percentage Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) for five nutrients on the back of the pack. In India, 100% of our portfolio carries the full nutrition labelling, in line with local regulations”, said a spokesperson for HUL. “We are strongly in favor of a FOP labelling scheme, where the underlying nutrient profile is based on portions”, the spokesperson further added.