FSSAI soon to introduce New Norms for Food Labelling
The chief supervisory body for overseeing the Food Safety & hygiene, FSSAI has so far left no stone unturned in ensuring vital support in legal as well as educational aspects of food safety. It has devised innumerable regulations and has reworked on various policies concerning all the FBOs across India. For instance, it has decided to conduct a Food Safety audit in order to check the proper implementation of several measures and uniformity in the compliance mechanism viz. FSSAI registration and food license.
Very notably, the Food Safety controller is involved in the task of drafting new regulations pertaining to the labelling process of the packaged food items that are being sold across the nation. This is to ensure that the consumers have access to the healthy food products.
#1. Why new regulations are being framed for labelling of packaged food items?
The main question that is cropping up in the mind of the authorities is that which food products shall be termed as ‘healthy’ and which shall be termed as ‘not so healthy’. As far as the labelling process is concerned, the regulations of the labelling of packaged food are being framed in this regard. These will be directed towards the classification of the packed food items on the basis of their nutritional value.
#2. What will be the basis of the new regulations on labelling of packaged food?
According to the FSSAI officials, the following parameters will be taken into consideration for framing of new regulations on labelling of packaged food-
- The opinion of the Scientific & medical communities
- The interest of the Industry,
- The interest of the food business operators (FBOs)
All these issues will be reconciled soon after which the regulations for labelling process will be issued.
#3. How will the packaging regulations be drafted in case of restaurant food?
As far as restaurant food is concerned, the authorities have told that the restaurants where a fixed menu is presented that are called “Quick Service Restaurants” or QSRs (e.g. fast food chains), the menu-labelling process is possible. Menu labelling is the process of listing nutritional facts on menus.
- For instance, if you go to buy a pizza from Papa John’s, the menu labelling will be done on the menu showing various varieties of a pizza.
- Now, in case the chef prepares the meal, menu-labelling will be impossible.
The regulations will be drafted, keeping in mind such issues.
#4. How urgent is the regulation in respect of menu-labelling?
The experts have quoted that the process of menu-labelling has been implemented gradually in several countries. Most recently, it has been implemented in the United States.
Hence, the experts have proposed that restaurants having FSSAI registration that run a chain of 20 or more outlets to have menu labelling in the QSRs that have fixed menu.
#5. What are the additional measures for ensuring food & health safety?
Recently, a workshop was also organised by FSSAI to spread awareness on the significance of food fortification.
Food fortification is a process wherein extra nutrients are added to packaged food eradicate many nutritional deficiencies. In this regard, FSSAI has added that the Ministry of Women & Child Development and the HRD Ministry are already committed to providing fortified food-staples in the mid-day meal scheme.
These are some of the proposed measures that are sure to eliminate from India maladies like malnourishment, in the long run.
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