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Make food labelling draft regulations more effective, stringent: CSE to FSSAI

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A Delhi-based green body today said it has submitted recommendations to FSSAI on the draft regulations on labelling released by the regulator, urging it to make the norms "more effective and stringent".

In April, the Safety and Standards Authority of issued a draft of the Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 and sought comments from stakeholders.

The said in a statement that the draft has "major gaps" and called for making it "more effective and stringent".

The CSE said it has submitted recommendations to FSSAI to "ensure a robust labelling framework in India".

"A is very important to combat obesity and non-communicable diseases plaguing our country. Though this draft regulation is a good beginning, it also has major gaps that need to be plugged to make it effective," CSE deputy general said.

One of the "significant gaps" the CSE pointed out is that the draft "does not provide for labelling of crucial aspects like added sugar and dietary fibres".

"Public and nutrition experts recommend that it is best to avoid added sugar in It can be measured and controlled and therefore, must be labelled. Also, dietary fibre is a key beneficial component of our diet and must also be labelled. This will help consumers make informed and healthy food choices," programme director, and toxins unit at the CSE, Amit Khurana, said.

The draft regulations merely state that HFSS (high in fat, sugar or salt) "shall not be advertised to children in any form," the CSE said, adding, researchers point out that this is "not enough".

"Children are key consumers of HFSS and the burden of childhood obesity is rising. The FSSAI needs to adopt a detailed framework to regulate advertisement of HFSS foods," Sonam Taneja, programme manager, at the CSE, said.

"Celebrities should not be allowed to endorse them and there should be no advertisement of certain such as soft drinks. Broadcasting regulations should be developed to limit the exposure of children to during prime-time programmes," Taneja was quote as saying in the statement.

The CSE said the draft emphasises on providing nutrition information for each serving of a food item, and also lays down that consumers should be made aware of the contribution of each serving to one's daily quota of salt, sugar or fat.

However, it does not standardise serving sizes, the CSE said.

"Determination of serving sizes has been left to the industry - this is a big loophole," Bhushan said.

"We have seen that the often claims very small serving sizes which are far from the reality and manipulates Serving sizes must be set by the FSSAI based on how much is customarily consumed by people in the Indian scenario," he said.

The draft introduces labelling of FSSAI has been under the scanner for presence of GM food in by way of import and otherwise.

The CSE has recommended that through the regulations, the FSSAI must "aim to regulate illegal GM food in India" and should "set a stricter bar" for exemption from GM labelling - the bar set in the draft regulations is "very weak".

"The FSSAI has a crucial role in ensuring food safety and a strong labelling regulation is a must to fulfil this mandate," Bhushan added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 16:25 IST