Over a year after releasing the draft packaging and labelling norms, India's food safety regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to make the norms mandatory from July 2022. In conversation with CNBC-TV18’s Shilpa Ranipeta, FSSAI’s CEO Arun Singhal spoke about the industry's concerns around the front of pack labelling.
FSSAI had made major changes in the labelling at the back of the pack.
"There were some changes in the font sizes, we want it to be in bigger fonts. Another major change was that at the back of the pack, you have information about 100 grams or 100 ml of a product, how much salt it contains, how much sugar it contains, all this is given at the back of the pack. But for a common man relating that to his daily requirement is very difficult. So, what we are now introducing is that you will also have information on the back of the pack about the percentage of daily requirement which is met by one serve of the product,” said Singhal
The industry had some problems with the font size FSSAI had specified. They argued that the back of the pack is not so large.
"So we have taken that into account we had a discussion with them and we came out with another modification towards the end of June. So now finally, we have decided that 1st of July 2022 would be the effective date for these changes,” said Singhal.
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On labelling issues, he said, “We have had very fruitful very constructive discussions. We had six rounds of consultation with the industry and consumer groups on this. We agreed on using total sugar instead of added sugar, we agreed on using sodium instead of salt, we agreed on using saturated fats so all the major issues were sorted out.”
One issue discussed was the number of categories in which one should divide products for the purpose of labelling. The consensus is that the number of categories should be small.
"There was agreement on all things and the only issue that remains to be decided is the actual pictorial form of representation to be used in the FOPL and so that study has now been awarded to IIM-Ahmedabad and they are on the job, they will talk to 18,000 consumers spread across the entire country. So if we get the report let us say at the end of six months, hopefully within the next one or two months, we can come out with a draft regulation,” Singhal updated.