July 20, 2022
A food label indicates any written or printed information on the food pack, which describes the product and is intended for the promotion of its sales. Nutrition Labelling is a part of the Food Label consisting of a standardized statement or list of nutrients of that food. The Food Safety and Standards guidelines list mandatory nutrients to be declared on the food label.
The sole purpose of nutrition labelling is to keep the consumer informed of the nutritional properties of the food which enables them to make the right food choices. It also informs the consumer of the presence of certain nutrients that are in high/low quantity and thus chooses between products of the same category.
The nutrient declaration is mandatory in most countries for all prepackaged food with certain nutrient values to be declared compulsorily as per 100g/ml or serving size. The Codex Alimentarius Commission in its ‘Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling’ has clearly stated the mandatory listing of the following nutrients:
Amount of Protein, available Carbohydrate, Fat, Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Total Sugars;
Amount of any other nutrient for which a specific nutrient/health claim has been made;
Any other nutrient as required by the country’s legislation;
Vitamin/Mineral values for which recommended intakes have been established and are of nutritional importance in the country.
As per FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), nutrient information on the label should be declared as per 100g/ml or as per a single consumption pack of the product. Along with this, it is per serving percentage contribution to RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) should be mentioned based on a 2000kcal diet.
The table below depicts the list of mandatory nutrients to be declared on the nutrition label as given by three major national legislations.
In comparison to the Indian Food Regulations given by FSSAI to U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Commission, it is clear that FSSAI’s new Labeling guidelines are robust and more or less mimic that of US guidelines. On the other hand, U.S FDA regulations mandate the listing of a comprehensive amount of nutrients including certain vitamins and minerals.
Although India ranks below most countries on comprehensive nutrition labelling, however, the new draft regulations named ‘Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020’ have taken cognizance of this fact and have proposed a more complete listing of nutrients.
The said draft regulation which has now been rolled out will change the course of nutrition labels in India and the way consumers see them. This will not only make Indian consumers more aware of the varied nutrient values but will also help them make smart and healthy choices for themselves.
1. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Food Labelling. Retrieved from Food labelling (fao.org)
2. FAO/WHO Food Standards. Codex Alimentarius. Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling. CAC/GL 2-1985. Retrieved from GUIDELINES ON NUTRITION LABELLING (fao.org)
3. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Product Standards. Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. Retrieved from Packaging and Lable020811.pmd (fssai.gov.in)
4. U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Food Labelling and Nutrition. Retrieved from Food Labeling & Nutrition | FDA
5. European Commission. Nutrition Labelling. Retrieved from Nutrition labelling | Food Safety (europa.eu)
6. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. Product Standards. Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020. Retrieved from 5fd87c6a0f6adGazette_Notification_Labelling_Display_14_12_2020.pdf (fssai.gov.in)
Olivia Crasto (MSc in Food Processing & Preservation)
Olivia is a Learner for Life, Eco enthusiast and loves to experience nature and its beauty