A simple, attractive and easily understandable pictographic FOPL providing energy intake comparable to conventional food should be adopted to safeguard consumers’ health in India.


On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day 2022, National Centre for Human Settlements & Environment in partnership with Consumer VOICE and MP Institute of Hospitality Travel & Tourism Studies (MPIHTTS), Bhopal organized a stakeholder’s consultation on ‘Front of Pack Warning Labels (FOPL) on Unhealthy Packaged Foods for Consumerson 16th March 2022 at MP Institute of Hospitality Travel & Tourism Studies, Bhopal.

While sensitizing the consumers on FOPL and its importance, Ms. Ekta Purohit of Consumer VOICE, said that “Amidst the rising concerns over obesity and other non-communicable diseases (NCD) ailments in our country, it becomes imperative for consumers to be a stakeholder in deciding what to eat and what is to be avoided. Front-of-Pack warning labeling represents a key component of a comprehensive strategy to promote healthier lives. It enables consumers to identify in a quick, clear and effective way, products high in salt, sugar and fats
Dr. S.K.Saxena while emphasizing on the harmful effects of packaged foods and rise in NCD burden in the state and in India, stressed that diets high in salt, sugar and fats is a major risk factor for these chronic and difficult to treat ailments. He said that one should be careful about contamination of food from the recycles packaging material as well. He also emphasized that consumption of ultra-processed foods and packaged foods is in the rise in (state) irrespective of the socio economic background, and it is putting the lives of our children and youth in danger.

Dr. Nilima Verma, Director, MPIHTTS, made a thorough presentation on type of package food, packaging material and different types of labels, changes in logos to notify type of food being used in India. She also stressed that label should be clearly visible, readable and understandable and labeling should be food specific. Besides the level of different nutrients there should be date of manufacture and date of expiry. This will allow the consumers make the right choice with a simple warning label on the front of food packets for unhealthy foods. A front of pack warning label on packaged foods will help consumers identify the products that are high in salt, sugar and fat. She further advised the consumers to be smart shopper, compare food label, know what you are eating and choose healthy food.

Shri Sandeep Victor representing Food and Drugs, Madhya Pradesh said that the idea of a simple and understandable FOPL is good. Once the guideline for this is notified this will be implemented in Madhya Pradesh.

Prof. (Dr.) Sanjeev Gupta, Associate Professor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication said that health issues and importance of FOPL as discuss in the consultation needs to be disseminated among the larger population where media could play a major role. Proposed FOPL  should be simple and have clarity. India being a multi-linguistic country having different culture and food habit, single language creates a barrier for communication. He suggested a simple, attractive and easily understandable pictographic FOPL providing a comparison of energy intake comparable to conventional food of India should be adopted.

Dr. Nandi, DG, NCHSE said that in India Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity are of growing concern.  In 2016 India reported 63% of total deaths due to NCDs, of which 27% were attributed to Cardiovascular disease (CVD). One of the main reasons is the consumption of unhealthy foods, i.e.  foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar.  He also stressed the importance of the threshold level of daily intake of fat, salt and sugar as recommended by WHO. He further said that “FSSAI needs to consider WHO advisory standards set for India for limiting the Nutritional Profiles. However, he expressed doubt about the acceptability of proposal of FOPL having HSR label design with star ratings formula and said that consumers can never understand these. As consumer organization, working at the grass root level we need to emphasize that a simple Warning Label symbol with threshold level is always better for consumer understanding“.

All the participants responded to a survey conducted during the consultation about acceptability of various types of FOPL in use.

Certificates were distributed to all the participants. The programme was conducted by Ms. Monica Sharma and Aiman Zubair of MPIHTTS and Mr. Avinash Shrivastava of NCHSE.

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