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Sweets and Namkeen manufacturers oppose FSSAI label proposal

  • India Infoline News Service |
  • 18 Nov, 2022 |
  • 1:58 PM

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI) proposal to impose front-of-pack warning labels with a star rating on all packaged goods is being resisted by snack food manufacturers, who argue that doing so will "destroy" the nation's ethnic foods sector.

The majority of businesses producing foods like chips, namkeens, and ethnic sweets would be harmed by the proposed labelling model, according to the Federation of Sweets & Namkeen Manufacturers, which represents large and mid-sized businesses like the Haldiram Group, Bikanervala, Balaji Wafers, and Greendot Health Foods.

According to the labelling draft, packaged foods should be given star ratings of one to five, categorizing them as good, not so good, or unhealthy depending on how much salt, sugar, and fat they contain. The federation mentioned that traditional Indian sweets and snacks were made of fat, salt, and/or sugar and were connected to festivals and rituals in a letter dated November 10 to the FSSAI CEO.

The majority of packaged foods, including peanut chikki, gajak, upma mix, and besan laddu, will fall under (the category of) 0.5-2.0 stars and be categorized as high in fat, salt, and sugar for at least one nutrient under the proposed model of front-of-pack labelling, according to the letter.

While this is going on, 30 members of parliament from states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh have written to the Prime Minister's Office or Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to express their concerns about the proposal, saying it has caused "fear among FMCG retailers, manufacturers, and trade, and the labelling will classify more than 85% of Indian traditional foods and snacks as unhealthy."

Government officials, packaged food manufacturers, and health campaigners have been discussing labelling requirements for at least six years, but the suggestion of star rating has only recently come up.

Food manufacturers have resisted the ideas, calling them flawed, while health advocates have called on the government to put simple rules into place immediately.

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad was given a mission by the FSSAI last year to create a thorough study on front-of-pack labelling for packaged and processed goods.

For feedback and suggestions, write to us at editorial@iifl.com

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