FSSAI mulls printing food contents on the front of pack to control salt use
Dhirendra KumarNew Delhi: In a significant move that is aimed at regulating 'high' usage of salt, sugar and fat in eatable products, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which is in the process of finalising new labelling regulations, is mulling to print nutritional contents information, including the amount of salt, sugar and fat at the front of the pack instead of at the back so that consumers would come to know what amount of salt and other high fats they are eating.
The proposal in this regard has been mooted by the food regulator to bring down the consumption of salt up to the permissible limit of 5 gram in a day. Notably, the salt consumption limit in the country has come down at 7 gram/day from the earlier usage level of 10 gram/day.
According to FSSAI Chief Executive Officer Arun Singhal, excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which is the root cause of several lifestyle-based diseases in the country.
"We are making an effort to bring down salt consumption so that diseases caused due to high intake of salt could be reduced," he said, adding, "High blood pressure for a long period creates cardiac problems. The FSSAI along with major stakeholders is mulling to find out a workable solution to this pertinent issue."
"The major challenge before the food manufacturers is to maintain the taste of the food items after reducing salt content. Rounds of consultation are going on and we are hopeful that stakeholders would come out with a workable solution soon," he said.
For front of pack labelling, the FSSAI has proposed colour coding if salt, sugar and saturated fat content is beyond a certain threshold level in a product, Singhal said.
"The industry has expressed its concerns about threshold levels. They have requested FSSAI to bring changes while keeping in mind the consumption pattern of the people,"
"Manufacturers are exploring options such as increasing spices and other flavours so that one does not get a feel of low salt in certain food products. We are discussing all these issues and any decision in this regard would be taken after examining all the pros and cons related to it," the FSSAI CEO said.