Continuing their fight for adoption of evidence-based nutrition standards and consumer friendly warning labels on all processed and packaged food and beverages, People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) along with the Foundation of Sustainable Development India and Savitri Bai Phule Mahila Panchayat organised a joint-consultation in Varanasi, which noted that there is enough research to link the exponential rise in childhood obesity, early onset of cardio vascular disease, diabetes and the overall burden of non-communicable diseases spiralling out of control with excessive consumption of ultra-processed food and beverage industry.
At the consultation, faith leaders, child rights and parents’ groups made a joint appeal to fast-track India’s adoption of these nutrition labels & standards, calling it an utmost priority. Experts said that India should lead by example and join the growing number of countries across the world that have made food labelling mandatory and have set WHO mandated thresholds on harmful ingredients. Evidence coming in from countries like Chile and Brazil have clearly indicated that a simple and mandatory warning label style FOPL such as the ‘high-in salt/sugar or saturated fats’ warning labels make a quick impact on betterment of public health, reducing consumption of unhealthy food, changing consumer preference and encouraging industries to reformulate.
Speaking at the launch of PIPAL (People’s Initiative for Participatory Action on Food Labeling) – a national grassroots initiative to accelerate the adoption of strong food labels, Prof. Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, Mahant of Varanasi’s Sankat Mochan Temple and Head of the Department, Electronic Engineering, IIT-BHU, emphasised that there is an urgent need to protect children from becoming obese and being vulnerable to deadly diseases as they grow up.