Scientific cut-offs & declaration of salt, sugar & fats in processed foods crucial: nutrition & advocacy groups

Scientific cut-offs for salt, sugar and fats in processed foods and declaration of excessive focus of these in all packaged foods ought to be made obtainable to customers as instant precedence, main nutrition, advocacy and analysis groups flagged.

At a webinar led by coverage evaluation and advocacy physique Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), executives cautioned that exponential development of junk or processed foods has left an indelible mark on the well being of Indian customers. Executives representing nationwide suppose tank on nutrition Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest(NAPi), Epidemiological Foundation of India (EFI) and Pediatrics and Adolescent Nutrition Society (PAN), stated it’s crucial to attract stringent pointers about consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods.

“A strong nutrient profile model (NPM) that is able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods can guide all nutrition regulatory policies, specially those linked to correctly identifying foods with excessive sugar, fats and sodium,” BPNI convenor Dr Arun Gupta stated. “The ongoing pandemic has demonstrated the debilitating role that comorbidities have played in Covid-19 fatalities,” he stated.

According to trade knowledge offered on the occasion, per capita gross sales of ultra-processed foods grew from about 2 kg in 2005, to about 6 kg in 2019 and is projected to develop to about 8 kg by 2024. Similarly, ultra-processed drinks are up from 2 litre in 2005 to about 6.5 litre in 2019 and projected to escalate to about 10 litre in 2024.

“Industry is used to making profits and will not comply unless our food and beverage regulators make these declarations mandatory,” Keshav Desiraju, former well being secretary of India, stated. “Regulators and policymakers need to identify mandatory thresholds which are within the limits as prescribed by WHO. As these will apply across the board, we can be sure that the entire market will adapt to, and meet the new standards,” he added.

Experts stated {that a} nutrient profile mannequin with single thresholds for 2 classes – meals and drinks – would work greatest. The single threshold nutrient profile mannequin has been the best answer for implementing and monitoring the entrance of package deal label coverage. Countries akin to Chile, Israel and Mexico with sturdy entrance of package deal labels insurance policies have tailored fashions with a single nutrient threshold, they stated.

Prof. H.P.S. Sachdev stated data concerning excessive focus of salt, sugar and fats in all packaged foods ought to be made obtainable to customers together with kids, and {that a} science-based nutrient profile mannequin to easy warning labels ought to be instant precedence.

In 12 months 2018, Food Safety Standards Authority India (FSSAI) revealed draft rules for entrance of pack labelling which was subsequently withdrawn for additional deliberation. In 2019 December, FSSAI delinked the entrance of pack labelling from common labelling rules and is presently looking for consultations with stakeholders, trade and nutrition consultants for a viable mannequin for India.

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