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5th May 2022 (6 Topics)

Front of Package Labelling (FoPL) system of FSSAI


With the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India set to implement front-of-pack labelling to discourage consumers from buying packaged foods high in sugar, salt, and fats, public health experts disagree with the country’s apex food standards regulator on the method for doing so.


Front of Package Labelling (FoPL) System:

  • According to the WHO definition, FoPL refers to nutrition labelling systems that:
  • are presented on the front of food packages (in the principal field of vision) and can be applied across the packaged retail food supply;
  • comprise an underpinning nutrient profile model that considers the overall nutrition quality of the product or the nutrients of concern for NCDs (or both); and
  • present simple, often visual information on the nutrient content or nutritional quality of products to complement the more detailed nutrient declarations usually provided on the back of food packages
  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international food standards body established jointly by WHO and the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), mentions that “FoP labelling is designed to assist in interpreting nutrient declarations”.

Health Star Rating System:

  • Under the health star rating system, an algorithm assigns a product a certain number of stars based on “positive” components (fibre, protein, and fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content) balanced against other components (energy, sugars, sodium, and saturated fat).
  • Experts argue that this is divorced from science as the presence of high quantities of sugar can’t be offset by the so-called positive ingredients.

FoPL issue in India:

  • In India, Front of Package Labelling (FoPL) was first recommended in 2014 by an expert committee constituted by FSSAI in 2013.
  • In 2019, the FSSAI issued draft notification Food Safety Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations.
  • The draft mandates colour-coded labels on food items.
  • In 2019 December, the FSSAI delinked FOPL from general labelling regulations.
  • On 15th February 2022 the FSSAI decided to adopt the “health-star rating system” in its draft regulations for Front of Package Labelling (FOPL).

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

  • It is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through regulation and supervision of food safety.
  • It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • It operates under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • FSSAI is headed by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government, either holding or have held a position not below the rank of Secretary to the GoI. 

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