The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on August 17, 2018 constituted a group of experts from health and nutrition sector to look into the issue of food labelling.
The expert panel will be headed by B Sesikeran, former director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and comprises Hemalatha and Dr Nikhil Tandon. The panel will study in detail the concerns of the industry and make recommendations.
The announcement regarding the constitution of the Committee was made by FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal while addressing a national consultation on the draft regulation on food labelling organised by the CUTS International.
Agarwal also made it clear that Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will go ahead with the labelling norms even if there is no full consensus on the matter after the panel's suggestions.
For now, draft regulations are put on hold
In April 2018, the FSSAI had come out with the draft of ‘Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018’ that propose mandatory red-label marking on packaged food products containing high levels of fat, sugar and salt.
However, for now, the government has put on hold these draft regulations following the concerns raised by stakeholders.
Draft provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018
• The draft regulations suggest for mandatory declaration by packaged food manufacturers about nutritional information such as calories, total fat, trans fat, sugar and salt per serve on the front of the pack.
• The draft pitches for a colour code, proposes that the high fats such as sugar and salt, trans-fat and sodium content should be coloured as ‘red’, if the value of energy from total sugar or fat is more than 10 percent of the total energy in the 100 grams or 100 ml of the product.
• The colour coding will make it easier for consumers to know about the nutritional value of food products and will help them make choices as per their requirements.
• It also makes mandatory to label food stuffs as ‘Contains GMO/Ingredients derived from GMO’, if the items contain 5 percent or more Genetically Engineered (GE) ingredients.
• The nutritional information should also be provided in the form of bar code.
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