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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) proposal to implement health star ratings on food packaging’s front has received opposition from various stakeholders. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) officials think that health star ratings are not an effective way of reducing unhealthy food consumption and instead recommend direct warning labels.
“The health star ratings misinform consumers and do not compel industry to make their food products healthier whereas a warning label provides instant recognition of unhealthy foods.” said Ashim Sanyal, chief executive of activist body Consumer Voice and former member of the Central Advisory Committee of FSSAI.
On the other hand, packaged food companies prefer to use star ratings. Currently, Indian food companies are only required to display basic nutrient information on the back of the packaging. Last year, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India published a draft regulation that proposed a labelling system based on star ratings. However, some stakeholders believe that direct warning labels are more effective in identifying unhealthy foods.