Packaged food items to display salt, sugar, and fat content in bigger letters. Here's why

Food labelling
Representative image: iStock/Brian A Jackson

Great news for all you label-readers and health enthusiasts! The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is shaking things up by making it easier to see what's really in your favorite snacks. From now on, the total salt, sugar, and saturated fat content on packaged food items will be displayed in bold letters and a bigger font size.

Why the change? It's simple! FSSAI wants to help you make healthier choices and understand the nutritional value of what you're eating at a glance. No more squinting at tiny print!

The FSSAI will issue a draft notification on this and seek comments from stakeholders.

In an official statement, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said it has approved "a proposal to display nutritional information regarding total sugar, salt and saturated fat in bold letters and relatively increased font size on labels of packaged food items".

The decision to approve the amendment in the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 regarding nutritional information labelling was taken in the 44th meeting of the Food Authority, held under the chairmanship of Apurva Chandra, Chairperson, FSSAI.

"The amendment aims to empower consumers to better understand the nutritional value of the product they are consuming and make healthier decisions," the regulator said.

The draft notification for the said amendment would now be put in the public domain for inviting suggestions and objections.

The information regarding per serve percentage (%) contribution to Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) would be given in bold letters for total sugar, total saturated fat and sodium content, the FSSAI said.

The regulator said that regulation 2 (v) and 5(3) of FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulation, 2020 specifies requirements to mention serving size and nutritional information on the food product label, respectively.

"Along with empowering consumers make healthier choices, the amendment would also contribute towards efforts to combat the rise of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and promote public health and well-being," the statement said.

The prioritisation of the development of clear and distinguish labelling requirements would help in the global effort to combat NCDs.

FSSAI said it has been issuing advisories from time to time to prevent false and misleading claims.

These include advisories sent to e-commerce websites for removal of the term 'Health Drink' as it is not defined or standardized anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or rules/regulations made thereunder.

It has also recently asked all Food Business Operators (FBOs) to remove any claim of '100% fruit juices' from the labels and advertisements of reconstituted fruit juices.

The regulator also directed FBOs not to use the term wheat flour/refined wheat flour.

These advisories and directives are issued to prevent misleading claims by FBOs.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; states and Union Territories attended the meeting.

Representatives from industry associations, consumer organisations, research institutes and farmers' organisations were also present in the meeting.

(With PTI inputs)

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