Warning labels are better than health stars on packaged food, experts say

RAIPUR: Adoption of clear warning labels on packaged foods to help consumers make healthier choices, emphasizing that warning labels are better than health star ratings on packaged foods.
Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, Amarjeet Bhagat, at the inauguration of the multi-stakeholder consultation on “Front of Pack Labelling”, said: “India is already facing the burden of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, we should waste no more time and must choose what is best for the health of Indians.Experts including renowned doctors have confirmed that clear warning labels will be the best possible measure to guide consumers and prevent them from making harmful food choices.
During the occasion. Some experts have also spoken, diets linked to non-communicable diseases are on the rise in the country and are on their way to becoming the obesity and diabetes capital of the world. Mention the adoption of warning labels that alert a consumer to negative nutrients such as sugar, salt and fat in packaged foods.
Data shows that the Indian packaged food industry has grown exponentially over the past 10 years and is expected to double in the coming years. Front-of-package labeling regulations are seen as an important policy measure to regulate the amount of harmful ingredients that may be present in these products and allowing consumers to make the right choice.
State Parliamentary Secretary Vikas Upadhyay said, “India cannot fall behind in taking this transformative policy step and imposing standards that are best for the health of our country. The Indian food processing industry should champion the cause of front-of-package labeling in India”.
Deputy Commissioner for Food Safety Dr. Rajesh Shukla also mentioned strict labeling regulations as there has been a proliferation of food processing industries across the country and as gatekeepers at the state, we have to make sure that food companies meet the standards.
Emphasizing the need to keep ‘nutrition first’, Dr Sadhna Tiwari, eminent health practitioner and Secretary of the Chattisgarh Milestone Welfare Foundation, said: ‘We are consuming dangerous amounts of packaged food and in some parts of the countries, the increase was very strong. Children and women in rural India and those of migrant workers are particularly vulnerable. Food companies are well aware of this shift and are focusing on these markets by making packaged foods readily available and affordable.
Social activist Alka Deshmukh pointed out that reformulating to make food healthier does not impact profits. This makes food and drink healthier and also changes consumer preferences. Emphasizing the need for a scientific approach when determining the type of label to adopt.
Chhattisgarh food industry representatives fully recognized the need for such measures and affirmed their commitment to healthy diets, stressing that the global food industry is taking steps to ensure that their products are safe and wholesome for consumers. If the government decides to adopt warning labels, we are prepared to accept that decision. Studies have indicated that reformulation to make food and beverages healthier does not impact profits or lead to job losses, they added.

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