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FSSAI proposes omitting added sugar qty from non-alcoholic drink labels
Friday, 16 June, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
In order to avoid duplication, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in its recent draft notification, has proposed to omit the quantity of added sugar from the additives section on non-alcoholic carbonated beverage labels.
 
As per the regulations laid down by the country’s apex food regulator, it is binding upon manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages to mention the quantity of added sugar at two places on their products’ labels - under food additives and the Packaging and Labelling Regulations.
 
The notification stated, “It has been proposed that the provision to declare the quantity of added sugar be omitted from the sub-regulations of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 , to avoid duplicity of the declaration requirement.”

Nilesh Lele, secretary, Association of Food Scientists and Technologists India [AFST(I)], said, “Manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages had to declare the quantity of added sugar on the bottle or pack.”

“This requirement was mentioned at two places in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011. This amendment will eliminate the wordings from the additives section and will retain them in the labelling section. There was no confusion in the past, and through this change, there will be no impact in the future,” he added.
 
Therefore, as per the draft note, omitting the labelling requirement will help to address the issue of duplicity or overlapping of provisions in respect of declaration of the quantity of added sugar under the sub-regulations of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, and the sub-regulations of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.

Offering a constrasting view, Abhishek Saareen, executive director, Trident F&B Consultants Pvt Ltd, said, “Provided that the quantity of added sugar shall be declared on the container or bottle, and if no sugar is added, that also shall be declared on the container or bottle as laid down in Labelling Regulations 2.4.5 (24, 25, 26, 28 and 29) of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. In case of returnable bottles, which are recycled or refilled, the declaration of quantity of added sugar and no sugar added may be given on the crown.”

He added, “I would request the FSSAI to rethink their suggestion. As a consumer, it is my right to know what is inside the bottle, can or packet of anything that I am consuming. Especially, if there is a particular ingredient which may not be very good for my body. This move may encourage the non-alcoholic-carbonated beverage companies to take unnecessary advantage.”

“More information should be given to the general public about the bad effects of sugar on our body. When our body gets excess of 10g of sugar at a given time, insulin is released by the body, which instructs the liver and muscles to absorb glucose from the blood,” Saareen said.

“This indicates to the body that it does not need to burn fat, which is one of the most significant reasons for the increase in obesity and other related problems in the world. On top of that, the omission of the quantity of the added sugar used to make the beverage is not a good idea,” he added.
 
FSSAI has asked the stakeholders to give their suggestions on the subject within a month from the date of the notification. The said regulation has come into force on the date of its final publication in the official gazette.
 
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