India’s Food Authority Considering Red Colour-Coded Labels on Packaged Foods

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed mandatory display of red color code on front of the pack labels on packaged food products that have high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt content levels, Hindu Business Line reported on April 13.  It has also proposed that a company must declare on the label in case its food product has a percent or more of ingredients which are genetically engineered or genetically modified.  
    According to the proposed draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018, the packaged food companies will need to declare nutritional information such as calories (energy), total fat, trans-fat, total sugar and salt per serve on the front of the pack.  The food labels will also declare, per serve percentage contribution to RDA (recommended dietary allowance) on the front of the pack.  However, it recommended that in the case of High Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS) packaged food products, the percentage of dietary energy values will be highlighted in red colour on the labels.  Many countries in Europe, for instance, have begun using colour-coded labels to make consumers better-informed about the nutritional values in food products.  
    In the draft regulations, FSSAI said, “The block(s) of nutrient(s) for “High Fat, Sugar and Salt” (HFSS) food shall be coloured ‘RED’ case the value energy Total 15 (Kcal) from total sugar is more than 10 percent of the total energy (kcal) provided by the 100g/100 ml of the product; the value of energy (kcal) from trans-fat is more than 1 percent of the total energy (kcal) provided by the 100 g/100 ml of the product; and total fat or sodium content provided by the 100 g/100 ml of the product is more than the threshold values.” “Food Authority may introduce colour coding system in addition to marking of foods as ‘Red’ within the specified thresholds from time to time,” FSSAI said in its draft regulation.  It has also proposed prohibiting advertising of HFSS food products to children in any form. 

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