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FSSAI panel clamps down on junk food, bats for tax, ad ban

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In a bid to cut down consumption of unhealthy food products and reducing the rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes, Indian food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed a set of measures, including tax, strict labelling norms and ban on advertisements of such products.

  • These measures have been recommended by FSSAI’s 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’.  This panel comprised experts from different fields’ viz. medicine, nutrition and dieticians from medical research and academic institutions.

Recommendations of FSSAI’s Panel:

The report of expert panel recommended balanced diet comprising around 60-70% of total calories from carbohydrate, 10-12% fromprotein and 20-30% from fat.

  • Taxes: Imposition of additional taxes on highly processed commodities and sugar-sweetened beverages in order to discourage its intake which will eventually lead to positive health effects. The amount collected as taxes on such products should be used to FSSAI panel clamps down on junk food, bats for tax, ad banfund nutrition-related schemes of Government.
  • Advertisements: The panel has recommended that advertisements of foods high on FSS should be banned during children TV shows and on kids oriented TV channels. The advertising ban should also be extended to social media. Celebrity endorsements of such products should be discouraged. The panel has also highlighted the scope for a total nationwide carpet ban similar to other countries like Chile.
  • Labelling norms: It should be mandatory to mention information about total calories, carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein, sodium, dietary fibre and trans-fat on the label of the food product.
  • The panel has also recommended setting up a national-level monitoring system to examine FSS intake at regular intervals.

These recommendations will serve as guidelines for producers and consumers in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products.

About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):

  • Objective: To protect and promote public health through regulation and supervision of food safety
  • Established under: Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  • Establishment Year: 2011
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Parent Entity: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
  • Current Chairman: Ashish Bahuguna