FSSAI to launch movement for healthier FMCG food products
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is launching an “Eat Right Movement” with a view to get industry on board for implementation of draft food labelling regulation. The movement will be launched on Tuesday with participation from leading FMCG companies where they are likely to make “voluntary commitments” to reduce salt and sugar in food and eliminate trans-fats in a phased manner.
The draft Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations 2018 made labelling of salt mandatory, introduced a special red labelling for high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS), introduced front of pack labelling among others. But according to officials, food businesses were hesitant of such labelling regulations. After months of discussions with industry, FSSAI now hopes the voluntary commitments will pave way for a consensus and implementation of the labelling regulations. Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI said there is a need to manage “both the supply and demand side. So we are trying to create a movement where consumers demand healthier food. For now businesses will make broad commitments and see how they can deliver. Their commitments will depend on the products. They will self-monitor compliance with commitment.” The concept of voluntary commitment however is not there in the draft labelling regulations. According to senior officials in FSSAI, food industry is not willing to accept a separate labelling for HFSS foods citing that there is no demand for low sugar-salt foods.
About 15 packaged food companies, 10-15 retail companies, 10 quick service restaurants, 8 to 10 edible oil companies will make voluntary commitments and be part of FSSAI’s movement launch. According to FSSAI, the eat right movement whose catch line is “aj se thoda kam” (Reduce sugar and salt. Start from today) led by actor Rajkummar Rao has seven broad areas of action—to increase demand for healthier food, set standards in schools, restriction on marketing to children through a suitable regulation, higher taxation for unhealthy food through differential GST rates, appropriate menu labelling, redesign choices available at points of sale, food processing industry to formulate their food products by reducing unhealthy ingredients.