Stakeholders consultation on ‘Front of Pack Warning Labels (FOPL) on Unhealthy Packaged Foods in Lucknow
The stage was set with government officials, health and nutrition professionals and consumers, youth, and parents. The session was inaugurated by Shri Abhishek Srivastava, Chairman of Consumer Guild.
It was then taken over by Ms. Ekta Purohit, Manager, Projects, Consumer VOICE, who elaborated on Front of Pack Labels and its importance said that “Amidst the rising concerns over obesity and other non-communicable diseases (NCD) ailments in our country, it becomes imperative for consumers to be a stakeholder in deciding what to eat and what is to be avoided. Front-of-Pack warning labeling represents a key component of a comprehensive strategy to promote healthier lives. It enables consumers to identify in a quick, clear and effective way, products high in salt, sugar and fats.”
Dr Piyush Gupta, Secretary and CEO of Cancer Aid Society while talking about the harmful effects of packaged foods that are rich in salt, sugar and fats said that they too should have warning labels just like cigarette packets that will help consumers distinguish between healthy and unhealthy food products.
Abhishek Srivasta of Consumer Guild said that, “We can improve the situation by letting the consumers make the right choice with a simple warning label on the front of food packets for unhealthy foods. A front of pack warning label on packaged foods will help consumers identify the products that are high in salt, sugar and fat. FSSAI needs to accept WHO advisory standards set for India for limiting the Nutritional Profiles. Also, in FOPL they have proposed HSR label design which star ratings formula which consumers can never understand. As consumer organization, working at the grass root level we need to emphasize that a simple Warning Label symbol is always better for consumer understanding.”
Dr. Shalini Srivastava, Senior Dietician at King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, described the FOPL system as necessary to reduce non-communicable diseases. He said that this step will help in averting the menace of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and various cancers. These are diseases that are caused especially by the consumption of highly processed packaged foods high in salt, sugar and fat. Warning labels will help people to make healthier choices and even reduce their consumption of these unhealthy foods.