New Delhi. In India, the demand for introducing mandatory warning Front of Package Labeling (FOPL) on packaged food items has intensified. In an online survey, about 91.4 percent of Indians want the system of package labeling to be introduced.

Survey results show that clear warnings about danger are most useful to consumers. In such a system, if the packaged food contains a high amount of fat, salt or sugar, the packet should clearly and prominently say ‘high-in fat/salt/sugar’ (high-in fat/salt/sugar).

More than 20 thousand people took part in this online survey and expressed their opinion. He believes that keeping in mind the choice of consumers, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) should release the much awaited draft regulation of food labeling in time.

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When asked whether they would feel safe from warning labels showing levels of fat, salt and sugar in packaged foods that exceed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) set limits, 99 percent of those surveyed said Answered ‘yes’ to it.

In addition, 95 percent of people want the warning labels on food packets to clearly indicate the amount of fat, salt and sugar. WHO has set scientific limits for fat, sugar and salt in packaged foods to protect the health of consumers.

This online survey was conducted from July 2 to 6, 2022 in which 22,647 people took part. In this survey conducted on Twitter, questions were asked in both English and Hindi. The survey results show that there is strong public support in favor of the right FOPL.

Manish Tewari, director of the NGO Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics (IGPP), which conducted the survey, says that the purpose of clear warning labels on packaged foods is to make consumers aware of the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fat present in them. This move may discourage consumers from consuming unhealthy food items.

According to the 2021 Global Nutrition Report, an unbalanced and unhealthy diet as well as a diet high in risk associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) caused about 12 million premature deaths in 2018.

India is also facing an alarming rise in NCDs including diabetes and obesity. This is increasing the burden on the health system of the country. About 15 million children in India are suffering from obesity.

According to WHO, about 5.8 million people die annually in India due to preventable non-communicable diseases (which are preventable).

Members of Parliament and doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, who participated in a recent round table discussion on “Impact of Packaged Foods on Health and Warning Mechanism” organized by IGPP, acknowledged that NCDs in India have been reduced. The right FOPL can have a strategic role in doing this.

WHO is also in support of making front of pack label mandatory. Label canned foods that are easy to understand and readable.

Tags: food, Food safety act, Healthy Foods

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