The importance of food labeling cannot be overstated. It is not only a legal necessity for food producers, but it also assists consumers in making informed purchasing decisions and safely storing and using the food they have purchased.
The requirements are the same whether you’re supplying restaurants or supermarkets. As a result, it’s critical that you understand your obligations and the importance of food packing.
The Indian food processing industry including food labeling is regulated by the national regulatory agency.
FSSAI or the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is responsible for formulating rules and regulations for foods.
- For food labeling, nutrition labeling and claims legislation is concentrated in Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2019 and Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulation, 2018
- For packaging material Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulation, 2018
- For product standards Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Regulation, 2011 Additives)
- Label compliance should also take into consideration the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (1 of 2010) and the Rules for Net quantity, Retail Sale Price, and Consumer Care details.
Applicability of Food Labelling Regulations
The food labeling regulations require all “Prepackaged” or “Pre-packed food” to comply with the labeling regulations in India. As per the rules, prepackaged food means food, which is placed in a package of any nature, in such a manner that the contents cannot be changed without tampering it and which is ready for sale to the consumer.
Mandatory information for labeling for B2C
- Name of the Food on Front of Pack
- List of ingredients
- Nutritional information
- Declaration on Veg and Non-Veg Logo
- Declaration regarding food additives
- Name and contact address of the manufacturer
- FSSAI Logo and License Number
- Net quantity, Retail sale price, and Consumer care details Lot code/ batch identification
- Date marking
- Instructions for use
- Declaration regarding food allergen
- Labeling of imported products
- Country of origin of imported products
- The symbol for not for human consumption
- Other symbols (if there’s any fortification, organic, quality grade AGMARK…etc.)
Some key features of labeling for food products
- The particulars of declaration to be specified on the label shall be in English or Hindi in Devnagri script
- Every package of food shall carry the name of the food which indicate the true nature of the food contained in the package, on the front of the Pack
- FSSAI logo and license number of the brand owner shall be displayed on the label. The license number of the manufacturer or marketer or packer or bottler, as the case may be, if different from the brand owner, shall also be displayed on the label.
- 8 mandatory declaration food allergens: cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, fish, egg, peanuts & tree nuts, soya, milk, and sulfite more than 10ppm shall be declared.
- A place the word “Contains” _____ followed by the name of allergy-causing ingredients.
- place the word “May Contain” _______ followed by the name of allergy-causing ingredients.
Nutrition declaration in India
Chapter-2 Section 5(3)(b) Labelling of Prepackaged Foods; Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2019:It summaries how much of the prepackaged food product is made of certain nutrients regardless of the nutritional claims. It does not apply to Foods for Special Dietary Use (FSDU), Foods for Special Medical Purposes(FSMP).
Mandatory provision for Nutrition Information India
- Nutrition label shall be in English or Hindi in Devnagri script
- The mandatory declaration should include
- Energy value (kcal). Protein (g)
- Carbohydrate (g) and Total Sugars (g), added sugars (g)
- Total fat (g), saturated fat (g), trans fat (other than naturally occurring trans fat)(g)and cholesterol (mg) Sodium (mg)
- Nutrition declaration per 100g/100mL or per single consumption
- Per serve percentage contribution to RDA on basis of 2000kcal
- Numerical information on vitamins and minerals is declared, it shall be expressed in metric units
The following foods are exempted from mandatory nutritional labeling:
- Unprocessed and processed products that comprise a single ingredient;
- Waters intended for human consumption, including those where the only added ingredients are carbon dioxide.
- Spices, herbs or mixtures thereof/Curry Powder except for Sprinkler masala
- Salt and salt substitutes; Tabletop sweeteners;
- Coffee extracts and chicory extracts,
- Herbal and fruit infusions, tea, decaffeinated tea
- Fermented vinegar and substitutes for vinegar,
- Flavorings, Food additives, Processing aids, Food enzymes, Gelatine, Yeast;
- Alcoholic Beverages.
Nutrition Claims in India
- Nutrient Content Claims: Describe the level of energy value or content of a nutritional component in foods as per conditions specified in Schedule I. Examples: «low cholesterol» «trans-fat-free» «high protein»
- Nutrient Comparative Claims compares the nutrient levels or energy value of two or more foods. Condition: the comparison difference must be greater than 25% in the energy value or nutrient content, at least 10% of RDA, for claims about micronutrients other than sodium.
- Health Claims: Any representation that states that a relationship exists between food and health. Be aware that: Health claims are always to be stated as part of a balanced diet. Health claims should be as per Schedule III.