Food authorities and regulators in India have been immensely concerned about India’s eating habits of late. Recently, reports announced that the government is considering a proposal to implement a tax on unhealthy foods; called the ‘fat tax’. Additionally, the Union Health Ministry announced that it may launch an app which will be able to tell you the nutritional values of a range of popular foods. Now, the FSSAI has indicated it may be considering labeling packaged food ‘junk food’.
What’s In A Label?
Of course, we all know that potato chips, nachos and the likes aren’t the most healthy foods. However, if the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) decides to go ahead and label these packed goods ‘junk’, it may cause consumers to pause before they buy them. Additionally, it may make these foods more susceptible to the ‘fat tax’, should it go through.
“We are trying to define junk food based on proportion of salt, sugar and fat content… The calculations are based on the Indian diet chart and recommended diet as well as international standards,” Pawan Kumar Agarwal to the Hindustan Times.
Based on these calculations, street food and homemade foods which local stores sell like samosas, cutlets and bhajiyas may also come under the scanner. However, Agarwal acknowledges that the logistics of labelling these foods may be difficult.
Should the FSSAI decide to go ahead with the move, India will become one of the first countries to label packed food as junk.