NEW DELHI: To keep health a priority, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken some strict measures like Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) on product consumption or provision of mandatory calorie information by restaurants. However, as the INR has not yet been introduced, the mandatory calorie information is not openly provided to customers.
According to The Sunday Guardian, only certain restaurant chains such as Subway, Pizza Hut and Domino’s provide information on the calorie count of the items consumed. However, it was seen that in some articles Domino’s and Pizza Hut only provide information online, while on the other hand, Subway had pasted a list in a corner of a wall. Similarly, Taco Bell has a separate card that provides nutritional information. At the same time, customers are not aware of the calorie count information online and offline. None of the restaurant chains had the information on the menu cards, rather the information was provided separately, only upon request. Domino’s provides “Nutrition Information (Per Serving)” online on only some of its products and not all; Similarly, Pizza Hut also provides nutritional information on certain items such as Tandoori Paneer, Margherita, Veggie Supreme and so on, but not all. However, none of the restaurant chains openly provided the public with information about the nutritional value of the foods found on the menu cards or booklets.
The correspondent has sought answers from the NRAI as to why some of the restaurant chains do not disclose calorie information openly. However, the NRAI did not respond by the time this article went to press. The reply this correspondent got from FSSAI on why some of the restaurant chains have not provided calorie count information was: “Food companies with central license or outlets with 10 or more locations shall mention the calorific value (in kcal per portion and portion size) against the food items displayed on the menu cards or boards or booklets.In addition, reference information on caloric requirements should also be clearly and prominently displayed such as “An average active adult requires 2000 kcal of energy per day, but caloric requirements may vary”.
In an effort to reduce the intake of foods high in sugar, salt and fat, the INR requires prepackaged meals to have a star rating. This is due to recent examples of adverse health effects on people of all ages. According to the information provided, the INR system rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food by assigning it a rating from ½ star (least healthy) to 5 stars (most). More stars indicate that the food product is better positioned to meet the daily human need for nutrients.
The INR is expected to simplify the nutritional values and make them more understandable for people. “There are labels on packages that many people either do not read or it is difficult for them to understand the same. INR simplifies it. It is a positive direction but it will take some time in the Indian market to come into play. For that, brands and FSSAI will have to work in unison to achieve the same goal of spreading awareness about healthy eating. Another good step is to trace the artificial ingredients, Dr Supriya Raut, R&D Manager at OZiva, told this newspaper.