Regulators in India, witnessing rising rates of obesity and diabetes, are in talks over possible new regulations on nutritional labelling.
An official from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in New Delhi told just-food new rules were under discussion, although consultations were at an early stage.
The FSSAI official said: “The FSSAI has been brought to notice that obesity and diabetes are rising and that high fat and sugar products are responsible. The FSSAI is examining it and assessing scientific views.” If these concluded that unhealthy food was to blame “we will certainly come out with guidelines,” the official added.
India’s food processing industry has called on the country’s central government to be cautious as it considers potential new regulations on nutritional labelling.
Subodh Jindal, the president of All India Food Processors’ Association, confirmed to just-food government officials were reviewing their options, although a draft regulation had yet to be put together. Jindal hoped India’s government would consider the impact new rules could have on the sector. “It is a huge investment demotivation,” he told just-food.
According to Jindal, some campaigners want the existing table of calories, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and fat content to be moved from the side to the front of the packs – but it is not clear if India’s government would mandate this by law.
“The name, brand, and a picture on the front of the label give the confidence in the product,” Jindal said. “If these things are made smaller to accommodate the nutrition chart on the front, than all the products on the shelf will look similar and confuse the customers.”