New Delhi, Nov 18 (SocialNews.XYZ) Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the RSS' economic wing, has urged the food regulator FSSAI to take steps to revise the regulation on the issue of Front of Pack Label (FOPL) in such a way that it would provide health related risk warning caused by high sugar, salt of saturated fats.
FSSAI has invited suggestions and objections regarding its proposals for Front of Pack Label, in which it has proposed Health Star Rating (HSR) starting from half star going upto 5 stars.
"We urge you to take steps to revise the regulation in such a way that the FOPL would provide health related risk warnings because of high sugar, salt or saturated fats. We do understand that the Star Rating cannot give this clear and true alert to a consumer who is increasingly influenced by health claims of food industry via media promotion and if they get Stars on unhealthy foods they will end up making more money on the cost of our people's health who eat these foods not knowing they are unhealthy," said Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-convenor, SJM in a letter to CEO, FSSAI.
"No body can understand if a food with 2 stars has sugar or salt more than recommended. The Amendment Regulation as of now sounds misleading that food products are classified as "least healthy to healthiest". SJM would like to understand more from FSSAI about how on earth can a ultra-processed food product be classified like that. Most of the countries, which have adopted FOPL, have chosen to give warning labels, instead of giving health star rating, except New Zealand and Australia. Experience in Australia is also now being questioned and Australian government is giving a rethink on the issue," it said.
SJM said that the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Report is not acceptable for policy development. "The current draft regulation is based on a report by IIM Ahmedabad, which was commissioned by the FSSAI. The FSSAI had biased IIM researchers towards the proposal of Health Star Rating(HSR) by asking to deal with Positive Nutrients. No wonder IIM followed it and concluded that HSR is the best option for India." It said.
Further, the report has been critiqued and rejected by both Indian and global researchers. These facts lead us not to accept the regulation in present form and giving "Stars" to all the unhealthy packaged food products called 'Junk foods' also. These include soft drinks, sport drinks, sweet biscuits, breakfast cereals, chocolate, and savory and sweet biscuits, chips etc. These are usually high in sugar/salt or fats, said SJM.