New Labelling Regulations for Packaged Food

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Source-This post on New Labelling Regulations for Packaged Food has been created based on the article “Empowering consumers: The proposed food regulation will help them” published in “Business Standard” on 9 July 2024.

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Context-This article discusses the recent amendment to food labelling regulations by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The amendment intends to improve consumer awareness and public health.

India’s urban growth is boosting consumption of packaged foods, especially among children. By 2030, India could have over 27 million obese children, making up 10% of the global total, as per UNICEF’s “World Obesity Atlas” (2022).

What are the recent amendments brought by FSSAI?

The FSSAI approved changes to the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020. Packaged foods will now show salt, total sugar, and saturated fat details in a bold and larger font. Previously, this information was in small fonts which could have been easily overlooked by consumers.

What is the significance of new regulation?

1) Empowerment-It will empower the consumers to make informed decisions.

2) Enhancing Public Health -The proposed changes to food regulations will enhance public health, combatting non-communicable diseases.

3) Export-based Employment-The portion of processed food in total agricultural exports almost doubled from 2014-15 to 2022-23, reaching around 26%. Adopting global food regulations will create more opportunities for growth and export-based employment.

What are the challenges in food safety regulation in India?

1) Simply showing nutritional information in big fonts isn’t enough if consumers don’t understand its importance or the health risks it signals.

2) Harmful substances in popular Indian spice brands and extra sugar in baby food were detected through testing done abroad by a foreign NGO.

A detailed article on Food Safety Regulations in India can be read here.

What should be the way forward?

1) Raising public awareness about recommended dietary allowances and their connection to saturated fat, sodium, and sugar is essential.

2) Public health departments at both the central and state levels should conduct awareness campaigns to educate the public.

3) There is a need to encourage better food choices that can alleviate strain on healthcare systems.

4) The food regulator must set clear standards and ensure all food companies follow them to keep consumers safe and maintain trust.

Question for practice

What is the importance of implementing new regulations? What obstacles does India face in ensuring food safety regulations? How should progress be made going forward?

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