INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is launching the ‘Eat Right Movement’ in a new strategy to promote production of healthier FMCG food products in the industry.

This is an attempt to getting the food industry on board for implementation of draft food labelling regulation in attempt to protect and promote public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.

According to ET Retail, about 15 packaged food companies, 10-15 retail companies, 10 quick service restaurants, 8 to 10 edible oil companies will make voluntary commitments and be part of FSSAI’s movement launch.

Mandated to consolidate statute related to food safety and regulation in India, FSSAI has a moved a step further to advocate for low sugar and salt consumption.

New food labelling regulations

In April, FSSAI released a draft (Food Safety and Standards- Labeling and Display) on food safety and standards regulations including new mandatory front-of-pack labelling for packaged food products, including a ‘red light’ label for high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods.

The amendments geared at tackling obesity and diabetes, suggests mandatory declaration by packaged food manufacturers about nutritional information such as calories, total fat, trans fat, sugar and salt per serve on the front of the pack.

According to officials, food businesses were hesitant of such labelling regulations but this might change following the voluntary commitments made.

“There is need to manage both the supply and demand side.

So we are trying to create a movement where consumers demand healthier food. For now, businesses will make broad commitments and see how they can deliver. Their commitments will depend on the products.

They will self-monitor compliance with commitment,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, FSSA.

Though the voluntary commitments are not covered in the draft labelling regulations, FSSAI maintains that the food industry is not willing to accept a separate labelling for HFSS foods citing that there is no demand for low sugar-salt foods.

ET Retail revealed that the Eat Right movement has seven broad areas of action—to increase demand for healthier food, set standards in schools, restriction on marketing to children through a suitable regulation, higher taxation for unhealthy food through differential GST rates, appropriate menu labelling, redesign choices available at points of sale, food processing industry to formulate their food products by reducing unhealthy ingredients.