Indian Sellers Collective opposes FSSAI’s Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling regulation

Under FOPNL, packaged items will be given star ratings like ‘one-star food’, ‘two-star food’, and therefore ‘good-food’, ‘not-good food’, etc. based on their salt, sugar, and fat content

Indian Sellers Collective, an umbrella body of trade associations and sellers across the country, has strongly opposed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) proposal of FOPNL (INR) – Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling (Indian Nutrition Rating) regulation.

The representative body has claimed that FOPNL will lead to ethnic Indian foods being classified as unhealthy, cause severe loss of business to MSME packaged food manufacturers and sellers and open the floodgates for western packaged food to capture the Indian markets. The proposed regulation will also make Indian cuisine fall prey to design of MNC’s and will be a big setback to PM’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Make in India. 

Since, traditional Indian cuisine make use of salt, sugar, and fat, for various scientific and customary reasons, these items will ostensibly be marked ‘unhealthy’ under the proposed mathematical calculation and expression of star rating system, leading to consumers rejecting them. Instead, consumers will prefer Zero Sugar Cold Drinks over Nimbu Paani, Pastry over Rasgulla, Chips over Bhujiya; Rice Crispy Cereal over Poha etc.

Therefore, abrupt introduction of impractical and unrealistic FOPNL regulation will cut off the supply of such products for the Indian Sellers across the length and breadth of the country who rely on these products to survive amidst the growing big retail in the country. Instead, multinational food companies with global reach use substitutes & chemicals to penetrate consumer market across the globe. They leverage the global knowledge and competencies to easily modify the nutrient composition of their food products in order to secure a better health star rating.

Terming FONPL a blunder for India, Dhairyashil Patil, President, All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF), said, “Large distributors and big retail who are thriving through collaborations with MNC and large food companies will continue to sell the reconstituted, western packaged foods in India, as adoption of FONPL will go on to destroy the market for traditional Indian packaged foods. However, the millions of small, independent sellers who largely depend on MSME manufacturers and packaged traditional Indian snacks to earn their livelihoods, will have no recourse, thereby threatening their very survival.” 

Image credit- shutterstock

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