Front of the Pack Labelling System needed on Packaged Food
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines FoP labels as “nutrition labelling systems that are presented on the front of food packages in the principal field of vision; and present simple, often graphic information on the nutrient content or nutritional quality of products, to complement the more detailed nutrient declarations 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”.
Countries such as Chile, Brazil and Israel have laws to push the packaged food industry to adopt FoP labelling. They have used FoP labelling as a measure to fight obesity and NCDs.
The system has, however, failed to see the light of day in India even seven years after it was first proposed and despite the experience of FSSAI in enforcing such labels — its “green filled circle in green outlined square” for vegetarian food and “brown filled circle in brown outlined square” for non-vegetarian food have been effective and popular. Then why has it been dragging its feet on FoP labelling?
The fact is, makers of packaged foods are also a powerful lot, with strong business acumen. While companies in other countries have acceded to the FoP labelling laws, they are unwilling to do so in India — a country experiencing a dietary shift, with people increasingly consuming more of processed and ultra-processed foods, which makes it a burgeoning market.
We should collectively raise this issue so Govt has no option but to implement this.
Can Localcircles play an active role? more