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FSSAI ropes in IIM-A to find out suitable label for harmful contents

FSSAI ropes in IIM-A to find out suitable label for harmful contents
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New Delhi: In a move aimed at resolving the contentious labelling issue of depicting the harmful contents such as fat, sugar and salt in packaged food products, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has roped in premier management institute – IIM, Ahmedabad – to find out a suitable label for all such products.

While talking to Millennium Post, FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal said that the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad has been tasked to decide a suitable label for the packaged food products containing either appropriate or excessive fat, sugar and salt.

"The IIM, Ahmedabad would find out a final solution by studying the human behaviour of people belonging to every section of the society. The study would be conducted by engaging participants of every age group," he said, adding that the premier institute is expected to submit its final report in a few couples of months after taking the views of 18,000 participants across the country.

The FSSAI CEO further said that there are five types of labels which are in consideration for the front of pack labelling. "The IIM, Ahmedabad has been tasked to conduct a consumer survey to get the view of people on the acceptability of different labels such as traffic light signs, nutrition score, health star ratings, warning symbols as each type of label has its own positives and negatives," he said, adding that on the suggestions of the premier institute, a final label would be finalised.

There are mixed views among different stakeholders about the labelling of packaged food products. The consumer groups are of the view that label should inform consumers about the percentage of salt, sugar and fat in the food, and how much higher it is than the permissible limit, while the food industry have opined that food safety labelling on salt, sugar and fat should be based on serve-size rather than quantity in the packet basis.

However, the consumers' advocacy groups have hailed the FSSAI for taking the initiative to resolve the issue as the apex regulator has taken about eight years to reach this stage. In countries like Brazil and Chile, the labelling of food products clearly mentions if the product is healthy for people or not.

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