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FSSAI to Draft Rules for Front-of Pack Nutrition Labelling (FOPL) of Packaged Foods

FSSAI draft proposed a star rating system, which is being discussed with various companies to imbibe a "cautionary warning" on the amount of added salt, sugar, and fat on the front-of the labeling of packaged foods.

Stuti Das
FSSAI drafts Front of Pack Nutrition Labeling (FOPL) and star ratings for food safety regulation
FSSAI drafts Front of Pack Nutrition Labeling (FOPL) and star ratings for food safety regulation

The Front of Pack Nutrition Labeling (FOPL) regulations are being developed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Star ratings for food quality are one of the measures suggested in its recommendations released last September.

The regulator for FOPL recommended star ratings from one to five that describe how nutritious the food items are based on their salt, sugar, and fat contents. However, packaged food makers have shown disagreement on the matter, as this major change will affect businesses across the country.

The IIM-Ahmedabad study, which was commissioned by the FSSAI to produce a thorough analysis of the effects on consumers of front-of-labeling for processed and packaged goods in India, was the basis for the authority's decision to use the star rating system. However, multiple other options, such as warning indicators, nutritional scores, traffic light signals, and nutrition labels were being evaluated.

Australia and New Zealand both use a similar system. The most contentious food packaging rule, the Front of Pack Nutrition Labeling (FOPL), has been in the consultation for some years. Additionally, for the first time an outside organization will be involved in the task of the labeling standards.

Health activists have been pushing for the most stringent standards for food safety, while processed and packaged food manufacturers have expressed ambivalence on the subject for a number of years. Despite numerous discussions with prominent stakeholders, no resolution came to fruition yet.

An expert group established by the FSSAI in 2013 in India first suggested Front of Package Labeling (FOPL) in 2014. In 2019, the Food Safety Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations drafting notification was released. The proposal requires food products to have color-coded labeling.

One of the most effective strategies in the world for encouraging customers to choose healthy food choices is the FoPL labeling system. It functions similar to the way cigarette packs are marked with pictures to deter consumption.

The necessity for FoPL labeling for India is brought on by the country's changing dietary patterns, increased consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods, and a booming market. It will be useful in the fight against the rising rate of obesity and numerous non-communicable diseases.

FoPL labels are nutrition labeling systems that are shown on the front of food packaging in the main field of vision and provide straightforward, frequently pictorial information on the nutrient content or nutritional quality of items, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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