Make warning labels on food packets compulsory, govt. urged

Activists urge the government to drop the idea of health star rating, and instead enforce stringent front-of-pack labelling regulations

August 17, 2022 08:12 pm | Updated 08:12 pm IST - CHENNAI

The Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) on Wednesday launched a signature campaign with the support of other organisations and members of civil society, demanding the government to enforce stringent front-of-pack labelling (FoPL) regulations for processed food.

At a conference organised by CAG here, S. Saroja, executive director of the organisation, said that processed food packets should carry clear and simple warning labels indicating the presence of high salt, sugar and fat. The labelling should be done in such a way that it will cut across the barrier of multiple languages and easily understood by even those who cannot read.

She pointed out how the draft FoPL regulations formulated by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2018 had been shelved and discussions on it resumed only last year. Highlighting that FSSAI was inclined towards the idea of health star rating (HSR) design instead of labels with appropriate information, she said that HSR failed to yield expected results in countries that adopted it like Australia and New Zealand.

J. Subha, social behaviour change consultant, UNICEF, Chennai, said warning labels can play an important role in tackling the burden of non-communicable diseases.

Chennikesavan, proprietor, Vasavi Foods, said warning labels would definitely help consumers make informed decisions. If implemented, he said the regulations on FoPL can help food industry to understand consumer preferences better and offer products accordingly.

Doctors, nutritionists, child rights activists, consumer group representatives and representatives from the food industry took part in the conference.

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