FSSAI deals with WHO’s permissible HFSS contents in packaged foods

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The food regulator formed a Working Group to review the standards mentioned in the draft Labelling and Display Regulations

According to media reports, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recently come up with a new way to cope with WHO’s permissible contents of sugar, fat, salt in packaged foods.

Two years ago, FSSAI in its draft Labelling and Display Regulation, had completely adopted the sugar and sodium standards laid out by the WHO, with relaxation in the case of fat standards. 

Unsurprisingly, as per the sources, there was a level of ‘interference’ from the packaged food industry pertaining to the implementation of those regulations. The packaged food industry was concerned that if these regulations are carried out, about 90 per cent of the packaged food items would go off the shelves after getting the ‘unhealthy category’ tag. 

After the industry raised its apprehensions, the food regulator formed a Working Group to review the standards mentioned in the draft Labelling and Display Regulations.

As claimed in the media reports, the Working Group has seemingly put together a new set of guidelines in which the permissible limit of sugar, salt, and fat has been relaxed up to 8 times as compared to earlier limits. The FSSAI is planning to implement the revised regulations by November this year. 

However, on this note, FSSAI has clarified that, “The provisions forFront of pack labelling (FOPL) particularly the thresholds level are still under consideration of Working Group. It is also to clarify that the FOPL will not come into force from November, 2021 as being portrayed in media. Recommendations of Working Group once finalized, would be be referred to scientific Committee for endorsement and food authority for approval as per  due procedure. thereafter, once approved by Food Authority, the regulation regarding Front of pack labelling would be notified as draft amendment to FSS(Labelling & display)regulations for inviting comments/ suggestion from the stakeholders. In this context any news/ reports appearing in media are speculative in nature and shouldn’t be considered.”

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