Through a press release the FSSAI has put forth its proposal for the new labelling regulations. The Apex Food Regulator has stated that the incidences of lifestyle or noncommunicable diseases are on the rise and the best way to curb these diseases is to encourage consumers to opt for healthy diets. FSSAI understands that both supply and demand-side interventions are needed to ensure that citizens have access to and consume healthy food and therefore, it has initiated a series of actions in this regard.
One of the key factors that enables consumers to make informed food choices is with the help of food labels. “Food Labels” serve as a primary link of communication between the manufacturer and consumer and cover both food safety and information that is of consumer interest. To make the national labelling regulations more robust and effective, the FSSAI is in the process of a comprehensive revision of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. The objective is to have separate regulations to deal with the three different aspects of
- advertisement and claims
In this regard, two regulations namely Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations and Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations have already been finalised and notified in 2018. Now the FSSAI’s new Labelling and Display Regulations are ready for draft notification. These regulations will supersede the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
FSSAI has undertaken to make the new labelling regulations because it would like to encourage citizens to make informed food choices and for that they need to know more about the composition of food products. According to the proposed draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, the packaged food companies will need to declare
- nutritional information such as calories (energy), Saturated fat, trans-fat, added sugar and sodium perserve on the front of the pack
- food labels will also declare, per serve percentage contribution toRDA (recommended dietary allowance) on the front of the pack.
In a bid to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices, these regulations propose to make it mandatory to display red colour-coding on front-of-the-pack labels on packaged food products that have high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt content levels. This requirement would be implemented in phased manner for a period of three years.
At present it is the norm to put manufacturing date and expiry date at two different places over the pack and it becomes difficult for consumer to see both at a glance. Hence, the new regulations propose that Date Marking including Date of Manufacturing and Date of Expiry must be at one place to make it easily understood by the consumer.
Food allergen labelling is an important tool to reduce risk of exposure and prevent anaphylaxis for individuals with food allergies. Hence the new regulations prescribe the Provision for labelling of food allergen and also allows to use of standardized precautionary and safety symbols.
Other key features of the proposed labelling regulations are:
- Mandatory labelling requirements like information relating to allergens and logo of veg, non-veg food etc. for the prepared food as well.
- Nutritional information may additionally be provided in the form of Barcode/Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN).
- New logo for Vegetarian food which consists of a green colour filled triangle inside a square withgreen outline to enable the colour-blind people understand
- Every package of food material which is not meant for human consumption shall bear a [X] symbol so as to clearly distinguish the non-food grade items to food items.
- An internal mechanism to address the problem arising out of implementation/interpretation of theregulations.
The FSSAI would invite comments and suggestions from stakeholders on the new labelling regulations before finalising the same. Several issues have also been raised by the industry association particularly with front-of the-pack labelling and FSSAI would also take these into considerations at the time of finalization of these regulations.