New food packet labels to tell how much dietary requirement is met

Food regulator, FSSAI, is preparing guidelines for elaborate labelling of food packets that must tell a person how much of recommended dietary allowance is met in one serving of that item.
Packaged food labelling is set for an overhaul in India.
All packaged food items will soon have to clearly mention what percentage of your recommended daily nutrients intake is met in a single serving of that particular item.
The country’s food regulator – Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is coming up with guidelines for elaborate labelling of food packets that must tell a person how much of recommended dietary allowance is met in one serving to make it convenient for people to keep tabs.
“We are in the process of changing labelling regulations,” said Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI.
The initial guidelines are ready and will shortly be sent to the Union ministry of health for approval.
“We have an expert panel working on formulating the guidelines. New labelling methods will help a consumer in knowing the exact percentage of the recommended dietary allowance of say sugar, fat, salt or other micro nutrients that’s met by consuming a serving of that product,” said Agarwal.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) provides a reference range to assess daily nutrient intake in a healthy person that tends to vary by age and gender.
Currently, the food packets broadly mention total calories contained and also the quantity of fat, sugar, salt, carbohydrates and a few other nutrients.
“The label hardly says anything about how much of a healthy person’s daily needs are met after consuming a serving and how much of it is left. The labels are quite convoluted for a common man to understand,” said Agarwal.
The panel that has been working on labelling guidelines is the same panel that worked on formulating country’s food fortification guidelines. The panel is also focusing on defining junk food.
“We broadly term high-fat, high-sugar items as junk that lead to obesity and other complications but this panel is getting into the details and coming up with a standard definition,” said Agarwal.
The food regulator, however, isn’t sure about deadline for implementation of the regulations.
“It will be difficult for us at this level to say when the regulations will be implemented, as the process requires several layers of consultations and approval. We are trying our best to be as fast as possible,” said Agarwal.
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