India’s food safety authority has decided to put food safety labels on the front side of packaged food depending on the harm fat, sugar and salt cause to human health but consensus eludes food industry and consumer groups on what the label should say, according to multiple officials and minutes of a meeting of stakeholders called by the authority.
The food industry wants the label to be a guideline informing the consumer about the quantity of salt, sugar, sodium and fats in the food packet without giving health warning saying that the aim should be to enable a consumer to take an informed decision and not discourage him to consume packaged food.
The consumer and advocacy groups want labels to clearly state whether the food is healthy for human consumption or not, as most consumers would not know how much sugar, salt or fat is good or bad for their health, if only quantity is specified.
“We will get a people perception study done by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, on what sort of label would people prefer,” said Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) chief executive Arun Singhal. Once that study comes, draft and then final guidelines on front of package label (FOPL) would be issued, he said.