At the launch of “India Spotlight Index 2016” CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal announced that FSSAI is examining global models and revising the food labeling norms.
We are looking at Codex norms. Moving beyond to see that our labeling norms are robust.
As far as regulations are concerned, he said that FSSAI will be looking into the best global practices. As he spoke, he also mentioned the steps taken to battle malnutrition in the country. His words made it clear that the regulator has brought in fortification standards and several firms have shown their interest over it. Past records have clarified the government’s commitment towards addressing issues regarding malnutrition head on. And fortification, as it seems, is one of the prime initiatives being taken to tackle malnutrition.
Fortification as the chief suggested has not been mandated in some areas, especially packaged food, as it isn’t feasible. He stressed that the index can be of critical significance in the areas where direct intervention for more nutritious food cannot be implied. The index as he noted didn’t throw out any surprises. However, it channelized focused attention over desirable expectation from the food businesses.
The list of companies assessed within the index are Britannia Industries, Amul, Coco-Cola India, Mother Diary, Mondelez India, Nestle India, Pepsico Products, Parle Products, Hindustan Unilever, and Ruchi Soya. There were four more companies which were interviewed; namely, Adani, ITC Ltd., Nandini, and Cargill. The index provided a broader spectrum of the corporate functionality through a thorough assessment of their nutrition related policies and the quality of their products in terms of nutrition. The report will surely help to nudge the rest of the food businesses, especially within the area of nutrition.
The role of the government would be to ensure the adaptation of good nutrition practices on the citizens’ end while making sure that the food businesses deliver accordingly.
According to Inge Kauer, Executive Director at ATNF,
The key finding of the index is that the largest companies in food and beverage manufacturing within the country are falling far short on what they require to accommodate and help towards fighting malnutrition, which is a burden that is mounting exponentially.
It is quite evident that any company may instill an outstanding corporate profile, but it will only be helpful if its product profile marks high nutritional value. According to the words of these experts, FSSAI seems to be in the right direction on pursuit to curbing malnutrition. The index will be an essential tool through which citizens of India can be nudged to follow good nutrition practices. However, the biggest gap overlooking malnutrition is the one held by food and beverage businesses. The government’s role on ensuring the production and supply of nutrition-rich food within the market hold crucial importance in the process.
With the changing norms, India shall see some improvement on the grounds. However, the better picture can only be assessed through the next report which is to come out in 2018. ATNF has been asked to assess more corporations within its next report to provide a wider frame of reference. Observation of improvement regarding malnutrition may be seen as the year goes by. And positive rewards are expected through fortification standards and extensive study of the index.
[Image Source: Business Broadcast News Pvt. Ltd.]