The Indian Tea Association (ITA) has claimed that all the stakeholders in the value chain, namely producers, buyers, packeteers are responsible law abiding entities providing the Indian consumer with a safe and sustainable cup of tea.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday noted with concern the health harm caused by packaged food high in salt, sugar and saturated fats.
Terming it a matter “infringing on the Right to Life and Right to Health” of the people, it summoned a response from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on its choice of front-of-pack labels displaying information that should help consumers easily make healthier choices.
The summons comes in response to a complaint filed on September 14, 2021 by Shruti Nagvanshi and Shirin Shabana Khan on the behalf of Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and Savitri Bai Phule Mahila Panchayat of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference here, Nagvanshi said, “Indians are facing a sharp rise in premature deaths and morbidity due to NCDs (non communicable diseases) such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease. These diseases are impacting the youth and children, sometimes with alarming occurrences even as early as 5 years of age. One of the primary causes of this crisis is consumption of packaged food products which contain high levels of sugar, salt, or fats.
“… Consumers have the right to know what is in their food. A clear warning on the front-of-pack (FOPL) is the only way to save our children and people of this country from a catastrophic health consequence. While FSSAI has introduced a draft regulation and proposed a certain type of FOPL, it is not what is best for the people. We must have clear warning and not mislead people with a star based rating system,” she said.
Commenting on FSSAI’s proposed India Nutrition Rating (INR), Dr Yuvraj Singh, said, “The notion that unhealthy food can become healthy simply by adding fruits or nuts is erroneous and lacks a scientific basis. The assignment of stars is based on a complex scoring system that values positive factors such as the inclusion of fruit or nuts. This ‘star rating’ may mask many of the detrimental effects of these products and convey a misleading message to the public.”