A study conducted by Local Circles, a social media platform, showed that 31 percent of the 1200 consumers are in favour of a “red warning sign” on packaged products which is not healthy. Others said that in addition to the red sign, “there should be a green or orange sign on healthy products” while the remaining said every product should have a star rating based on its contents. Only a few percent responded that “none of the above is needed, packaged food products must continue to be sold without any warnings or signs.” Among the youngsters a significant rise in consumption of junk food, especially, packaged processed food, among Indians in the last two decades.
The food habits among Indians led to an adverse effect on their health as most of these foods contain high sugar or salt and bad fat ingredients, which increase non-communicable diseases like obesity as well as a rise in conditions, such as diabetes and heart diseases. To address this problem is the introduction of regulations that will help consumers make informed choices when they are ordering these processed foods, the survey said. People should be able to differentiate between packaged and processed foods and that it contains a high amount of salt, sugar, and fat content, it said. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has proposed a plan to introduce Health Star Rating for packaged food products, foods rated on a five-star scale are based on factors like saturated fat, sodium, sugar and healthier aspects such as protein and natural ingredients.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority has decided to go ahead with a new star rating system for packaged foods and beverages, despite criticism from various channels. Consumer activist groups have written to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare warning that such a system can be easily manipulated by the industry, compromising public health.