Strong Warning Labels On Unhealthy Food Products Is A Human Right: Public Health Experts Call For Urgent Action - GADGET-INNOVATIONS

Strong Warning Labels On Unhealthy Food Products Is A Human Right: Public Health Experts Call For Urgent Action

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Top doctors including paediatricians and public health experts gathered today to discuss the urgent need for adoption of front-of-pack warning labels on all unhealthy food products if India is to safeguard people’s lives from the looming crisis of non communicable diseases. Citing recent research that overconsumption of ultra processed foods(UPF) and beverages lead to overweight and obesity – key risk factors for cancer, cardiovascular disease, non alcoholic fatty liver and various other deadly diseases; BPNI, Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPi) and several public health organisations called upon the Government of India to urgently consider application of mandatory warning labels on ultra-processed foods and food products high in sugar/salt or saturated fat.





Experts from Pediatric and Adolescent Nutrition Society (PAN) -IAP Nutrition Chapter and Epidemiology Foundation of India (EFI) pointed out that the food industry wants to delay and dilute the warning labels guidelines as there is vested interest. They emphasized that marketing of packaged food items are a health hazard for children under 5 years and adolescents as they are the most vulnerable group to NCDs because of unhealthy food products consumption.





Presenting evidence from around the world, Neha Khandpur, an expert  and faculty  of public health from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Centre for Nutrition said, “Warning labels have consistently been shown to be most effective at improving consumer understanding, at influencing their purchase decisions and at supporting healthy food choices. They also are most likely to encourage product reformulation. Warning labels are the strongest nutrient-based label that India should consider implementing”.





According to Euromonitor estimates, the sale of UPF has increased from 2 kg per capita in 2005, to 6kg in 2019 and is expected to grow to 8kg in 2024. Similarly, beverages have gone up from less than 2 L in 2005 to about 8 L in 2019 and are expected to grow to 10 L in 2024.




So, in order to enforce  these  rights fully and protect citizen/consumer interest, the State or more specifically, the FSSAI, should  introduce a front of label  colour coding or such other easily comprehensible warning labels on foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat, she said. S advocated consumer education about the consequences of consuming  foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat and a ban on celebrity endorsement of  such food.  






Prof. HPS Sachdev, country’s leading researcher on nutrition summed up to a have strong and mandatory warning label based on the WHO thresholds of nutrient profile modelling because 50% of the  children’s population is suffering from cardiometabolic risk factors as per the CNNS, 2016-18 survey due to unhealthy packaged food consumption.




 New Delhi: