FSSAI ropes in expert panel to review food labelling standards

• The government has put on hold the draft that proposes red-labelling of packaged food products containing high levels of fat, sugar and salt.

• In April, food safety regulator FSSAI had come out with the draft of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations 2018 that propose mandatory red-label marking on such packaged food products.

• The pre-draft was ready and sent to the Health Ministry. Since there were concerns expressed by some stakeholders, it has been kept on hold for time being and a group of experts from health and nutrition background has been set up to look into the issue of labelling once again.

• The expert panel will be headed by B Sesikeran, former director of the National Institute of Nutrition as also the current director of Hemalatha, besides doctor Nikhil Tandon.

• The labelling regulations have remained the major contentious issue in the food industry which sees it as an impediment to their sales.

• The panel will study in detail the concerns of the industry and make recommendations.

• Pitching for bringing in strong labelling norms at the earliest, the FSSAI CEO said it is difficult to ask consumers to change their eating habits as some eat without differentiating between healthy and unhealthy food products.

• FSSAI made it clear that it will go ahead with the labelling norms even if there is no full consensus on the matter after the panel’s suggestions.

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