Soon, junk food with high-fat, salt, sugar content to have a ‘healthy message’

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has drafted a notification with provision of front-of-packaging labelling of high-fat, salty and sugar foods. The draft has been notified for public comments on July 2. This was stated by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare) in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Friday, July 12

Burger, Pizza And Fries

Unhealthy food choices are contributing to the rise of the obesity crisis among children. Mass awareness programmes are the need of the hour to educate the general public about the dangers that foods with a high-fat, salty and sugary foods pose to the health of children.

Keeping this in mind, the formulated a regulation with the provision of front-of-packing labelling of High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) Foods, as a measure to create awareness among people. The said regulation has been draft notified on July 2, 2019, for seeking public comments.

The FSSAI is also promoting safe and healthy eating through several initiatives such as Safe and Nutritious Food initiatives focussing on social and behavioural change around food safety and nutrition at home, school, workplace etc.

She added, “Many people have high blood pressure and kidney problems and they have a fixed intake of sodium. Even people with diabetes should know the amount of sugar that they are allowed to consume. Even non-diabetics should remember that carbohydrates are converted into fat. This can cause weight gain.”

Borse said, “There are a lot of products in the market which is labelled as low-fat. But what exactly is the quantity of fat should be mentioned too. So that the consumer can make an informed choice regarding which foods are good for their health.”

Campaigns like ‘Aaj Se Thoda Kam’ with focus on messaging for reduced daily intake of salt sugar and fat etc. It has nudged industry to reformulate products to provide healthier options.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has informed that they have not carried out any study on the consumption of aerated and energy drinks leading to various health ailments including cancer, diabetes and other health problems.

Excessive consumption of energy and caffeinated drinks in a short period of time or when co-ingested with other stimulants such as alcohol may lead to health risks such as arrhythmias etc., however, it may be relatively safe when consumed moderately and separately.

A review published in Front Public Health, 2014 stated that the health risks associated with energy drink consumption are primarily related to their caffeine content, but more research is needed that evaluates the long-term effects of consuming common energy drink ingredients.

Further, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated standards on ‘carbonated fruit beverages/fruit drinks’, ‘carbonated water’ and ‘caffeinated beverages’ under sections 2.3.30, 2.10.6(1) and 2.10.6 (2) respectively of Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.

The implementation and enforcement of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and Rules and Regulations framed thereunder primarily rests with the State/UT Governments.

Regular surveillance, monitoring, inspection and random sampling of food products, are undertaken by the officials of Food Safety Departments of the respective States/ UTs to check that they comply with the standards laid down under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

In cases where the food samples are found to be non-conforming, recourse is taken to penal provisions under Chapter IX of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.