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Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel

Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel

A committee that constituted medical experts and nutritionists has recommended a tax on highly-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Earlier the Maharashtra government resolution instructed schools to stop serving junk food in their canteens. The step was taken to stop health problems and to aid learning.

The body was tasked by the FSSAI (Food standards and safety authority of India) to prepare a report in this regard. Though taxation is not within the jurisdiction of FSSAI but several of the other recommendations are being implemented.

Recommendations made by the committee:

  • A tax should be imposed on highly processed food and sugar sweetened beverages
  • Ban on advertisements that promote foods that are high in FSS (fat, salt, sugar) during TV shows and channels that are aimed towards children
  • Even celebrity endorsements of such food should be discouraged
  • The panel also recommended detailed labeling of packaged food. The labeling should specify
    • the energy value in kilo calorie(kcal)
    • the amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat
    • The amount of any other nutrient for which a health claim is made
    • The amount and type of fatty acids and cholesterol
    • Types of fatty acids include saturated, mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated
  • While many companies provide a breakdown of their constituent nutrients , they are not systematically enforced
  • The proportion of fat, salt and sugar should not exceed the guidelines provided by World Health organization(WHO) and the Indian council of medical research(ICMR)

Consumption of FSS(Fat, salt, sugar) across socio economic groups:

  • According to the findings of the report Low income groups (LIG) consumed more fried foods and snacks compared to the High income groups
  • The highest consumption of bakery items was in slums
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