The FSSAI has issued a draft notification on front-of-package labelling, which proposes “Indian Nutrition Rating” (INR) modelled on the health star-rating system.
The draft of the amended Food Safety and Standards (Labelling & Display) Regulations, 2020 requires packaged food to display the prescribed format of INR by assigning a rating from 1/2 star (least healthy) to five stars (healthiest).
The Indian Nutrition Rating or INR is to be calculated on the basis of contribution of energy, saturated fat, total sugar, sodium and the positive nutrients per 100 gm of solid food or 100 ml of liquid food.
The star assigned to a product “shall be displayed close in proximity to the name or brand name of the product on front of pack,” the draft notification mentioned.
Certain food products such as milk and milk-based products, egg-based desserts, infant formula, salads and sandwich spreads and alcoholic beverages have been exempted.
While stakeholders have been given 60 days to submit their responses to the draft notification, the regulation proposal has brought in mixed reactions. Some industry players believe that the regulations should be adjusted to Indian dietary patterns so that they don’t end up being discriminatory to Indian traditional and ethnic food industry, while others have said the star ratings would be one of the parameters to influence consumers’ choices.
According to public health experts, the health-star rating system provides a “health halo” because of its positive connotation making it harder to identify harmful products. The experts have pointed out that warning labels such as an octagonal “stop” symbol which global studies have shown is the only format that has led to a positive impact on food and beverage purchases be used. In fact, the “stop” symbol has forced the Chilean industry, for example, to reformulate their products and remove major amounts of sugar and salt.
Objections or suggestions, if any, may be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, FDA Bhawan, Kotla Road, New Delhi- 110002 or may be sent by e-mail at email@example.com
Highlights of the Indian Nutrition Rating Draft:
- Five-star ratings to give consumers more information about the nutritional profile of the packaged food products and make better choices.
- Ratings to be displayed on the front labels of the packed food products in close proximity to the brand names.
- Front of pack nutritional labelling has been introduced in various countries where obesity and other lifestyle diseases pose a significant health risk.
- Higher number of stars to indicate that the food products are better positioned to provide for the daily nutrient needs of consumers.
- It will be voluntary in nature for four years after it is notified.
- Defines products that will be considered High Fat Sugar and Salt (HFSS) food products in the country.
- HFSS food means a processed food product which has high levels of saturated fat or total sugar or sodium.
- Proposes mathematical formula on which star ratings will be calculated and also in the manner in which they will need to be displayed on the front labels of the products.
- It has set baseline reference values for energy, total sugars, saturated fats and sodium per 100 grams and 100 ml that can contribute to health risks.
- It has prescribed the minimum percentage of positive nutrients such as fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes, fibres and protein.
- Food products will obtain Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) scores which will determine the number of stars a product food will be able to display.
- A specified list of products has been provided that will remain out of the ambit of the labelling regulations.
Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) Logo
The INR system rates the overall nutritional profile for packaged food by assigning it a rating from ½ star (least healthy) to 5 stars (healthiest). More stars indicate that the food product is better positioned to provide for daily human need of nutrients. The format of logo for INR is as indicated below:
The logo shall be displayed close in proximity to the name or brand name of the product on front of pack. Provided that food business operators may give optionally additional interpretive information as per serve percentage contribution to RDA of energy, total sugars, saturated fats and sodium expressed as salt equivalent, along with the INR logo as illustrated below:
Generation of Indian Nutrition Rating Logo
The FBO shall submit their product’s relevant nutrient profile in the FoSCoS system for generating the respective INR score and the logo with or without the optional interpretive information.
Food products with milk logo as specified under Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011 shall be exempted from the purview of HFSS definition.
The display size of additional interpretive information may be specified as 25% of main INR logo. Same as the height of main INR logo. B-1/4th of the height of the main INR logo.
The original draft of Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) can be accessed from the following link :