Indian regulator hears further calls for junk food labelling

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Junk food, Nutrition

Nutritionists have once again been calling for food authorities to introduce a labelling system to denote junk food, similar to the green spot that is mandatory for vegetarian foods.

India’s junk-food provisions need to be upgraded, campaigners say of a country that does not even have a statutory definition of “junk food​”.

"Food products like soft drinks, chips, pizzas, fried food and high-calorie biscuits should have ‘J’ marking for easy identification​,” one nutritionist told Times of India​, adding that “most Indians do not understand nutrition table.” 

Another solution tipped by experts could feature a standard measure that could identify foods that fall in the junk category.

The idea of junk-food labelling is not new in India, and it appears to be gathering steam. In January, the food regulator took its first steps to define “junk food​”—the first step before such labelling could go through legislation.  

We are trying to define junk food based on the proportion of salt, sugar and fat content… The calculations are based on the Indian diet chart and recommended diet as well as international standards​,” said Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive of the FSSAI.

A decision on the definition and whether to introduce warning labels is expected in the next  few weeks.

Related topics: Policy, South Asia, Food safety

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