Food labelling serves two purposes, the first is to serve the legal requirement as required by the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, which governs all rules and regulations related to foods. The second purpose is to inform the customer about the contents of the packaged food, the manufacturing date and shelf life of the product.
Food labelling is the printed information that contains the name of the product, the manufacturing company’s name, address, logo, etc. It also contains a list of ingredients, additives, colours, preservatives, flavours, etc. used in the product. The label also has the FSSAI logo, Batch number, Code No. Mfg. & Exp. Date, License No, Logo, Veg & Non-Veg marks etc. Also the important nutritional information has to be placed so that consumers can make an informed choice about the value of the product for them.
One important aspect of food labelling for consumers is the nutritional information. Nutritional information informs the consumers about the amount of proteins, carbohydrates, sugar, fats, vitamins, minerals and calories contained in it. Nutritional content can be displayed as a grid or as a panel and is placed either on the side of the packaged food container or at the back of the packaging. The displayed nutritional value can help consumers decide which foods will be of help to them for their nutrient and health needs.
Food labelling has to follow certain norms and rules and it cannot be haphazard. Attention has to be paid to the font size of the product name, the manufacturing date and the ‘lot or batch number’. The ‘best before’ and ‘Use by date’ have to be placed in accordance with the FSS Act 2006. Food labelling also provides consumers with instructions on how to use the product. Certain food products like wheat, rice, pickles etc. and the single ingredient foods do not need to mention any nutritional values.
Some foods require specific labelling requirements like infant milk substitutes and infant foods. Food products like edible oils and fats also require specific labelling requirements. All containers of infant milk substitute or infant food need to have this declaration IMPORTANT NOTICE: MOTHER’S MILK IS BEST FOR YOUR BABY” besides other requirements this label also needs to be placed on the label, “Warning: “Infant milk substitute or infant food is not the sole source of nourishment of an infant” has also to be mentioned on the label.