FSSAI urged to introduce mandatory front-of-package warning labels

New Delhi,   Non-profit Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) on Monday urged food regulator FSSAI to introduce mandatory front-of-package warning labels on foods and beverages to curb the growing epidemic of heart disease and cardiovascular deaths.

“Excessive consumption of foods and beverages high in trans-fat, sodium, added sugar and saturated fat is a major cause of heart disease, stroke and premature death in India and around the world. Front-of-package warning labels increase consumer knowledge about healthy food choices and help to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” said a CUTS release.

Barry Popkin, the W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, said consumers should have the right information to be able to make informed decisions about what they eat.

“Mandatory front-of-package warning labels are considered by governments around the globe as an effective and evidence-based way to improve diets,” he said, as per the release.

Popkin is one of 28 international health and nutrition experts who have jointly submitted suggestions on the proposed requirements for the labelling of pre-packaged foods on the draft ‘Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Regulations, 2018’ of the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).

George Cheriyan, Director of CUTS International, said it was an opportunity for India to join a growing list of countries that have taken decisive steps to prevent disease and save lives.

“We encourage FSSAI to seize this moment and upgrade food labeling policies to reflect international best practices for a healthy India,” he said, as per the release.