INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) First Amendment Regulations, 2022, which establish standards for product shelf life and nutritional information.
The amendment stipulates that cholesterol content must only be disclosed for products containing fats of animal origin and when total fat content is greater than 0.5%. It also states that saturated fat and trans fats must only be listed on the label if total fat content in the finished food is greater than 0.5%.
Nutritional information is defined as “a description intended to inform the consumer of the nutritional properties of the food related to sugars, added sugars, dietary fiber, and other nutrients which provide energy, or have specific metabolic or physiological functions, or are necessary for growth, development, and maintenance of healthy life, according to regulation 5 sub-regulation 3 of the labeling and display regulations.
Additionally, according to the regulations, nutritional information per 100 gm, 100 ml, or per single consumption pack of the product and per serve percentage contribution to recommended dietary allowance for an adult should be provided.
The amendment further specifies that the “DD/MM/YY” format may be used for goods with a shelf life of longer than three months.
Regarding the statement on food allergens, the amendment states that cereals used to make alcoholic distillates, including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, and glucose syrups based on wheat, including dextrose, wheat-based maltodextrins, glucose syrups based on barley, were excluded from the list of allergens provided these ingredients have been assessed as safe, and gluten shall not be more than 20 mg/kg.
The modification specifies that the minimum height of a numeral or letter in mm for the primary display area must be 3 in normal case and 5 when blown, molded, or perforated on a container for areas more than 500 square centimeters and up to 2500 square centimeters.
These regulations will be in effect as of the day they are published in the official gazette, according to the FSSAI.
Meanwhile, after extensive deliberations, the FSSAI finally released the Front of the Pack Nutritional Labeling (FOPNL) for Packaged Food Companies draft regulations.
In order to provide customers with more information about the nutritional profile of packaged food products and help them make smarter decisions, the draft regulations propose adding five-star ratings.
When they are complete, these ratings will be visible right next to the brand names on the front labels of packaged food products.
Public health specialists have however been up in arms against the health-star rating claiming it has a positive connotation and makes it difficult to identify harmful products.
They advocate cautionary labels instead, such as those with an octagonal “stop” symbol, which research from throughout the world has proven is the only design that has had a beneficial effect on food and beverage purchases.
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