Indian dietary body proposes symbol-based food labelling
The Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), the top body for dietary issues in the country, has proposed modifying food labelling to make it more relevant to India.
Speaking at a recent press conference, NIN scientist Dr G M Subba Rao said studies have revealed that food labelling regulations in India are on a par with western nations like the US and UK. However, there is still a pattern of poor label comprehension amongst Indian customers because of a variety of factors, but mostly because of a low level of literacy, he said.
Amongst those who may have received higher education as well, there was a pattern of poor label comprehension owing to a lack of nutrition literacy, as is the case in many developed nations too.
Rao said that the NIN has therefore suggested that a push be made to explore the possibility of using symbol-based labelling on food packs in order to provide nutrition awareness across society, said Rao.
Labelling norms in India were last updated in 2007, when the government made it compulsory for all processed foods to have food labelling as part of a national programme promoting cardiovascular health.
At that time, the health ministry demanded that all labels have information on ingredients and nutrition. The move was specifically aimed at food products made by small and medium manufacturers.