The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a draught notification for front-of-pack labelling in order to discourage consumers from purchasing packaged foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.
GS Paper 2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Despite being self-sufficient in food production, India faces food insecurity and hunger as a result of widespread economic distress, high unemployment, and high levels of inequality. Comment (250 words)
FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India):
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is a legal entity established by the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.
- Establishing scientifically sound food standards
- To govern the production, storage, distribution, import, and sale of food.
- To improve food safety.
- Development of regulations to establish standards/guidelines for food articles.
- Establishing mechanisms/guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies involved in food safety management system certification.
- Establishing a national information network to ensure that the public receives reliable and objective information about food safety and other issues of concern.
- Help develop international technical standards for food, sanitary, and phytosanitary standards.
- The FSSAI is made up of a Chairperson and twenty-two members, one-third of whom must be women.
- The FSSAI Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government
- The Food Authority is assisted in setting standards by Scientific Committees and Panels, and in coordinating with enforcement agencies by the Central Advisory Committee.
- Ministry Concerned: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
At the state level:
- The FSSAI appoints state-level food safety authorities.
- The State Food Safety Commissioners are primarily responsible for enforcement.
Summary of Recent Events:
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a draught notification for front-of-pack labelling in order to discourage consumers from purchasing packaged foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.
- According to the draught notification, packaged foods will be required to have a star graphic next to the brand name.
- Similar to the star-rating system for the energy efficiency of electronic products, the ‘Indian Nutrition Rating (INR)’ will assign a low rating to the unhealthiest food items and a high rating to the healthiest.
Concerning the Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) System:
- The INR system assigns a rating of 12 stars (least healthy) to 5 stars to the overall nutritional profile of packaged food (healthiest).
- More stars indicate that the food product is better positioned to meet the daily nutrient needs of humans.
- According to the notification, solid food with a score greater than 25 will receive 0.5 stars, while those with a score less than – (minus)11 will receive 5 stars.
- In order to generate the star-rating logo for the product, food businesses must submit nutritional profiles for the products in question to the FSSAI’s portal.
What exactly is Front of Package Labeling (FoPL)?
- Excess sugar, fat, and sodium consumption is a public health issue linked to the noncommunicable diseases that afflict the majority of the population.
- Overweight or obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and vascular, heart, and brain diseases, as well as kidney disease, are examples of noncommunicable diseases.
- The widespread availability, affordability, and promotion of processed and ultra-processed food products has contributed significantly to the excess intake of these nutrients.
- Front-of-package warning labelling is a simple, practical, and effective tool for informing the public about potentially harmful products and guiding purchasing decisions.
- In India, an expert committee formed by the FSSAI recommended FoPL on packaged foods in 2014.