NEW DELHI: Keeping health a priority, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been taking some strict measures such as Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) on product consumption or providing mandatory calorie information by restaurants. However, as the INR is yet to be introduced, the mandatory calorie information is not provided openly to the customers.
As found by The Sunday Guardian, only some restaurant chains such as Subway, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s are providing information on the calorie count of the items consumed. However, it was seen that in some items, Domino’s and Pizza Hut were providing information only online, whereas, on other hand, Subway had pasted a list at a corner of a wall. Similarly, Taco Bell has a separate card providing information about nutrition intake. Meanwhile, 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 when asked. Domino’s is providing “Nutritional info (per serving)” online on only some of its items and not all; similarly, Pizza Hut is, also, providing nutritional information on some items like Tandoori Paneer, Margherita, Veggie Supreme, and so on, but not all. However, none of the restaurant chains provided information on the nutritional value of the foods included on the menu cards or booklets openly to the public.
The correspondent has sought a response from NRAI on why some of the restaurant chains are not providing information on calorie count openly. However, the NRAI did not responded till the time this article went to press. The response received by this correspondent from FSSAI on why some of the restaurant chains have not provided information on calorie count was, “Food Service Establishments having Central license or outlets at 10 or more locations shall mention the calorific value (in kcal per serving and serving size) against the food items displayed on the menu cards or boards or booklets. Additionally, reference information on calorie requirements shall also be displayed clearly and prominently as ‘An average active adult requires 2,000 kcal energy per day, however, calorie needs may vary’.”
In an effort to decrease dietary intake of foods high in sugar, salt, and fat, INR requires pre-packaged meals to have a star rating. This is due to recent examples of detrimental health effects on people of all ages. As per the information provided, the INR system rates the overall nutritional profile for packaged food by assigning it a rating from ½ star (least healthy) to 5 stars (healthiest). More stars indicate that the food product is better positioned to provide for the daily human need for nutrients.
The INR is expected to simplify the nutritional values and make them more understandable to people. “There are labels on packages which many people either don’t read or it is difficult for them to understand the same. The INR simplifies it. It is a positive direction but will take some time in the Indian market to come into consideration. For that, brands and FSSAI will have to work in unison to achieve the same goal of spreading awareness about healthy nutrition. Another good step will be tracking the artificial ingredients,” Dr Supriya Raut, R&D Lead at OZiva, told this paper.