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Star-rating for packaged food

  • Published
    22nd Sep, 2022
Context

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has issued a draft notification on front-of-package labelling, which proposes “Indian Nutrition Rating” (INR) modelled on the health star-rating system.

About

About the draft:

  • The draft of the amended Food Safety and Standards (Labelling & Display) Regulations, 2020 made public recently.
  • It requires packaged food to display the prescribed format of INR by assigning a rating from 1/2 star (least healthy) to five stars (healthiest).
    • More stars indicate the food product is better positioned to provide for daily human need of nutrients. 
  • The INR is to be calculated on the basis of contribution of energy, saturated fat, total sugar, sodium and the positive nutrients per 100 gm of solid food or 100 ml of liquid food.
    • Solid food with a score of more than 25 will be given 0.5 stars, and those with a score less than – (minus) 11 will get 5 stars.
  • The star assigned to a product shall be displayed close in proximity to the name or brand name of the product on front of pack.
  • Exemptions: Certain food products such as milk and milk-based products, egg-based desserts, infant formula, salads and sandwich spreads and alcoholic beverages have been exempted.

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”.
  • In India, FoPL on packaged foods was recommended in 2014 by an expert committee constituted by the FSSAI.

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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