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The FSSAI’s draft food labelling rules for High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) products are correct and much needed. Under these rules, HFSS products are to include a simple RED colour code on the packaging.

Now the food industry is lobbying for a different set of standards for India based on “Indian dietary patterns” and are trying to link the RED code to portion sizes.


India is now the diabetes capital of the world, and even children are falling victim to lifestyle diseases. Packaged HFSS foods are a huge part of the problem. The FSSAI must not fall victim to such blatant trickery and fail our people.

Here are the reasons why the industry ask is totally wrong and the FSSAI must not be swayed by such arguments –

The argument about “Indian dietary patterns” being different, and therefore the labelling rules should be different is unscientific and wrong. The simple fact is that foods and diets have the same effect on South Asians as they do on Caucasians, Asians or Africans. On the contrary, I would argue that the labelling rules and allowed levels must be LOWER and STRICTER for South Asians, because of the famous “thrifty gene” that makes us more prone to abdominal obesity and lifestyle disease.

The portion sizes argument is a nonsense. Almost nobody in India follows printed portion size guidelines for any packaged food. The industry knows this, and most often the portion sizes mentioned are routinely exceeded by consumers. We must have a percentage based labelling and not a portion size linked labelling.

I sincerely hope that the FSSAI does not fall victim to these tactics by the food industry MNCs and stands it’s ground.

The red labelling for HFSS foods is urgently required and the draft labelling rules must become compulsory.

Here is an article on the issue –

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