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Watch What You Eat: New Norms for Food Labelling by FSSAI Coming Soon!

Thanks to labels, you will now know exactly what your food contains, according to the FSSAI. Representative image only. Image Courtesy: Flickr

The FSSAI wants to spell out safe levels of certain ingredients in food.

In today’s fast-paced world, making time to exercise may be a luxury. For some, getting a nutritious meal becomes difficult. Which is exactly why fast food companies are thriving on quick hunger fixes that have long-term effects on health.

Well, food regulation norms are getting stricter, and labels on food items will now help you choose what is right!

Thanks to labels, you will now know exactly what your food contains. Representative image only. Image Courtesy: Flickr
Thanks to labels, you will now know exactly what your food contains. Representative image only. Image Courtesy: Flickr

According to the proposal, all packaged food with at least 5% content from genetically engineered sources has to sport labels. Genetically modified foods are those that have changes introduced into their DNA using genetic engineering methods. Simply put, these foods are infused with new traits. For example, delayed ripening.

Additionally, foods that contain more than permissible amounts of sugar and fat will have ‘red’ and ‘green’ labels. This draft of regulations is by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), whose CEO, Pawan Agarwal, told The Hindu, that the rules weren’t the final draft. Another version is expected, which will then be reviewed for 30 days, he added.

The FSSAI’s draft in question spells out safe levels of fat, sugar and salt in processed foods. The colour red will be used to denote foods where:-

The energy value from total sugar is more than 10% of the total energy (kcal) it provides, by 100 g/100 ml of the product.
The value of energy (kcal) from trans-fat exceeds 1% of the total energy (kcal), provided by 100 g/100 ml of the product.
The fat or sodium content provided by 100 g/100 ml of the product is more than predetermined values.

This is the first time that the Centre is involved with guidelines for labelling genetically modified foods. A system for the same has been in the making for at least two years.

As per the present laws, any genetically modified food can’t be sold in India unless it is cleared by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, a Union Environment Ministry body. The Ministry, however, made an exemption on processed foods. But the court stepped in and stayed it.

The FSSAI, a Union Health Ministry Body, and the Environment Ministry were also debating about who is responsible for checking the amount of genetic modification in a particular food.

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As far as the new norms for food labels go, it would help people who need to know what they are consuming. For example, someone with diabetes would need that information, so they know not to exceed their limits.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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