The burden of NCDs poses a major public health challenge and threat that has potential to alter the social and economic development of India in a negative way. NCD management interventions are essential for achieving the global target of a 25% relative reduction in the risk of premature mortality from NCDs by 2025 and the SDG 3 target of a one-third reduction in premature deaths from NCDs by 2030.
India is experiencing an exponentially growing burden of NCDs claiming over 6 million lives in a year in 2020. The probability of dying between the ages of 30 and 70, from four major NCDs (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) for both sexes is as high as 26%. In the year 2011, 53% of all deaths were due to NCDs and this proportion has gone up to 60% in 2014. According to some estimates, there are around 2.8 million cases of cancer, 39 million with chronic respiratory diseases, 64 million with cardiovascular diseases and 69 million people with diabetes in India. In 2016, one in four deaths in India is due to cardiovascular diseases, with heart disease and stroke responsible for 80 per cent of this burden.
Warning labels grab attention of consumers towards their ill-effects, the unhealthy food products sold in market with HFSS and especially oils, fats and foods with trans-fats have gained little attention for their irreversible harmful effects on health leading to NCDs. Studies have highlighted that consumption of trans fats increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
CUTS has been advocating since April 2018 with FSSAI to strengthen the proposed Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018 and notify for implementation. The FSSAI is considering implementing symbol-based front-of-pack nutrition labeling, which they intend to make mandatory. These regulations will form a major stepping stone for India to target HFSS and Trans-fats in packaged food products. Consumers will get an opportunity to select and choose products based on front-of-package information about the amount of Salt, added sugar, saturated fats/trans fats etc.. The advocacy which started in April 2018 will be continued in this phase also and suitable advocacy strategies will be used as per needs.
About the Project
The project aims to have active engagement with FSSAI for advocating scientific and consumer friendly FoPL in all packaged foods and sharing of the critical inputs/insights with GHAI for the effective advocacy strategy development for India. The key strategies would be: participation in the committee meetings, and meetings with the CEO of FSSAI, active involvement with media, industry mapping for the FoPL of MNCs and National level large food industries, engagement with at least two packaged food manufacturer and/or associations at state/city level to spearhead the advocacy for earliest passage of strong and effective FoPL regulation by FSSAI.
To achieve the above-mentioned targets and aims, CUTS team will undertake following activities. Targeting FSSAI’s top level policy makers and officials to advocate for consumer friendly FoPL provisions, participating in the policy related discussions, policy making discourse at national level, and will counter the industry’s strategies, tactics of diluting the FoPL related policy provisions undertaken at FSSAI’s level. Rigorous engagement with select food processing companies located at state or city level will be done to publicly solicit the support for the best practices for FoPL and convince them for consumer-friendly best practices in their processes. The mainstream media will be reached out through writing Op-Ed and media releases and social media as well to amplify the issues, challenges, advocacy efforts, industry’s tactics and consumer friendly policy requirements.
Purpose of the Project:
The purpose of the project is to advocate for an effective, strong, scientific, consumer friendly and evidence based FoPL regulation in all packaged foods in India. Providing critical inputs with GHAI for making effective advocacy strategy formation, participating in the FSSAI FoPL related committee meetings and meetings with the policy makers who are mainly CEO and chairman, FSSAI on time to time.
In the project, mainstream print, electronic media will be a critically throughout the project duration. Importance of social media has increased multifold during the lockdown. Most of the policy makers and FSSAI officials are also officially using social media platforms for community participation. For effective and targeted advocacy, the landscape of industry of food processing has to be mapped to understand the industry in its entirety and rigorous engagements with the key players of industry will be done to form suitable strategies and to counter them.
Objectives of the Project:
- Advocating for scientific and consumer friendly FoPLs in all packaged foods.
- Advocating to Food Manufacturers/Industry Associations for soliciting support for the best practices for FoPL publicly.
- Advocating Media to support the consumer friendly FoPL in India
- Front of pack nutrition labelling: Star ratings may not be the right format
Policy Circle, January 11, 2023
- FoPL regulation needs wider consultation
The Bureaucrat, December 16, 2022
- CUTS International raises concerns on proposed Indian Nutrition Rating display on food labels
Nuffoods Spectrum, November 29, 2022
- Key stakeholders remain unaware or partially aware of the need for FoPL regulation in India
Nuffoods Spectrum, October 01, 2022
- Experts Demanded for an Effective Mandatory Warning Label
Voice of Jaipur, September 10, 2022
- George Cheriyan, Director, CUTS International nominated to the Central Advisory Committee (CAC) of Indian Food Authority (FSSAI)
Voice of Jaipur, August 05, 2022
- Health experts cry foul as food industry targets India’s ripe market
The BMJ, June 13, 2022
- Experts hail warning labels on food packaging towards health security of Indian consumers
Financial Express, May 13, 2022
- FSSAI plans health star ratings on food packs, consumer bodies say it misleads
Fortune India, May 12, 2022
- What is the debate around star ratings for food packets mooted by FSSAI?
The Hindu, May 09, 2022
- FSSAI sides with industry, puts consumers at risk
Policy Circle, May 09, 2022
- FSSAI should focus on enforcement, not on trans-fat free logo: Expert
FnBnews, March 29, 2022
- Consumer Organisations question media reports on India to have ‘Health Star Rating’
Nuffoods Spectrum, March 10, 2022
- Food Processing Industries ignore consumer’s health due to fear of economic loss, says CUTS Industry Mapping Study
The Financial Express, February 25, 2022
- Why Food Industries must promote healthy and sustainable diets?
Nuffoods Spectrum, February 07, 2022
- Consumer Organisations unanimously demand for immediate notification of FoPL regulations for public health safety
Financial Express, December 20, 2021
- Experts hail easy to understand FoPL warnings on packaged food products towards addressing NCDs
Financial Express, September 15, 2021
- Nutrition literacy, greater market infrastructure investments must for ensuring healthy, sustainable diets in South Asia
South Asian Monitor, September 06, 2021
- Front-of-package labelling: Why India should opt for warning labels
Policy Circle, June 29, 2021
- Front-Of-Pack Labelling: Time for Action
Nuffoods Spectrum, June 22, 2021
- World Food Safety Day 2021: Ensuring safe food for a healthy tomorrow is everyone’s business
Policy Circle, June 07, 2021
- Event Report – State Level Consultation on Status of the NCDs and Role of Front of Package Labelling Jaipur, Rajasthan
August 30, 2022
- Event Report- State Level Consultation on “Significance of FoPL in Addressing NCDs”, Thiruvananthapuram Friday, August 26, 2022
August 26, 2022
- Webinar on FoPL: Why Health Star Rating (HSR) is not suitable for India?
May 11, 2022
- Webinar on FoPL: Why Health Star Rating Label is not suitable for India
September 14, 2021
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS CART)
D 218 A, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park
Jaipur 302 016, India
Tel: +91 141 228 2823/228 2482, 513 3259
Fax: +91 141 401 5395