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FSSAI considering label warning on ‘junk food’ like tobacco


Meeting on Feb 02, the draft proposal aims to address growing obesity trend, partly due to excessive consumption of ‘junk food’.

Should chips, burgers and colas – which are often blamed for the rising cases of obesity – come with a pictorial warning? While the effectiveness of this is under debate, health experts believe such steps are necessary to discourage people, particularly children, from consuming these.

According to Dr Vandana Jain, additional professor at the paediatrics department of ATMS, obesity is leading to serious health issues, including fatty liver disease, in children. Jain, who is also part of an expert panel formed by FSSAI to prevent obesity due to consumption of food high in fat, sugar and salt, said pictorial warnings for chips, colas, pizzas, burgers, etc is something even the committee is in favour of.

“This has been included in the draft noting. The FSSAI panel will meet again on February 2 to decide whether it should be part of the final list,” she said.

Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment said pictorial warnings on junk food are welcome and they would push for its implementation. According to the WHO, poor diet is a global health concern and a leading cause of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular ailments, diabetes and cancer.

In 2012, the Ontario Medical Association also demanded that junk food be treated like tobacco and be taxed heavily and packaged with graphic warnings. Experts said warnings could be in the form of labels stating that the product contains ex-cess fat and salt or even a picture of liver indicating that consuming such food may lead to fatty liver AIMS, in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research, conducted a study to look at the prevalence of fatty liver in 220 overweight kids aged 10-15 years.

“About 62.5% had fatty liver,” said a doctor, adding that such kids are at risk of liver cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.

Source: Times of India

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