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What nutrition labels should look like and why they don’t!

By Parul Singhal      08 October, 2020 08:30 PM      0 Comments
What nutrition labels should look like and why they don’t!

The huge part of our modern-day food is packaged food only. The list of packaged food items consumed by urban consumers is increasing every day such as, the granola bar, non-added sugar juice etc. 

Besides, due to this, health concerns are also increasing day by day. With obesity, diabetes, heart problems, consumers are very concerned about what’s going into their food, ultimately into their bodies. 

Many manufacturers are using a number of tricks to create deception in an attempt to pass off highly processed and unhealthy products as wholesome and nourishing. Using fancy packaging, advertising and marketing and products promoted by celebrity ambassadors and self-proclaimed physical gurus, the products can practically sell themselves, irrespective of how harmful they can be. 

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) mandates every manufacturer to list the nutritional values such as protein, carb, fat and calories, as per RDA recommended diet for an average male adult, in one of 2 serving sizes.

Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations 2011gave various guidelines on different kind of packed products. Asper Rule 2.1.2 (1) which states “Packaging requirements for Milk and Milk Products mandates Bottling or filling of containers with heat-treated milk and milk product shall be carried out mechanically and the sealing of the containers shall be carried out automatically. 

Section 23 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 states that, “no person shall manufacture, distribute, sell or expose for sale or dispatch or deliver to any agent or broker for the purpose for sale, any packaged food products which are not marked and labeled in the manner as may be specified”. 

In April 2019, FSSAI introduced strict regulations against false claims and misleading information. For eg, Soup packages that mention being “healthy” or “nutritious” can’t make this claim since they are high in sodium. Besides this, the amount of energy, total fat, total sugar and salt per serving and the percentage contribution to be recommended daily allowance, should be clearly mentioned in the format specified by FSSAI. 

The sugar-free cookie or chocolate has either Maltodextrin, or Soluble Corn Fibre or Maltitol or some other chemical that mimics sugar, but as per FSSAI guidelines it doesn’t need to be labeled as “Sugar”. So the manufacturer gets to say “Sugar-Free. 

Now its high time manufacturers started following labeling regulations in spirit. If you are proud of your food, then there should be no difficulty to declare it. 

Instead of hiding the ingredients that we add in the food, it is necessary that manufacturers gave the ingredient list and the humble nutritional level their due importance or they will charge high penalty as per the FSSAI guidelines. 

Chapter 9 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, defines penalties that can be imposed if there is non-compliance with the rules and regulations established by the FSSAI. For eg., Section 59 of the Act, 2006 states that if any person himself or through any other person on his behalf, manufacture, sell or distributes any article of food considered as unsafe is punishable with imprisonment for a duration which may extend to six months and also with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees if such failure or contravention does not result in injury. 

Now it’s high time manufacturers started following labeling regulations in spirit. If you are proud of your food, then there should be no difficulty to declare it. 

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