Your relationship between hate and love with junk food might change. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has suggested additional taxation on processed foods as well as sugar-sweetened drinks and has also demanded a complete prohibition on the advertising of booze and junk food on children’s channels as well as content aimed at children on the internet, television, and social media. We are all aware of the harmful effects of junk food on our health; it isn’t an excuse not to take these foods into our homes and consume them even more often. The fact that they’re easily accessible and come reasonably priced makes it even more difficult to limit their intake. Junk food has been considered to cause many health issues, including diabetes and obesity. Recently, as we witness a dramatic increase in the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, governments across the globe are implementing measures to tackle the problem. The fat tax was enacted in the UK to raise the price of junk food items so people can choose healthier food instead. Returning to India, there is a change in the Maharashtra State Government, which has recently announced that it will be banning junk food from schools’ canteens to help fight childhood obesity and encourage healthy eating habits. The reason for this is that kids are also taking on this unhealthy lifestyle, following the patterns of their parents, and are at risk of developing various illnesses later on.
FSSAI’s report on the consumption of Fat, Sugar, and Salt (FSS) and its adverse health effects on the Indian population’ said, “The country’s existing nutrition and public health policies fail to provide vision and urgent steps that are needed to tackle the rising problem of overweight and obesity due to increasing urbanization, sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy diets. Thus, we must recognize and formulate strategies to reduce the burden of risk factors that fuel the chronic disease epidemic. One such established risk factor is an unhealthy diet, especially those high in trans and saturated fats, refined sugars, and salt.”
According to the document, FSSAI recommends the following steps The following measures are suggested:
- Monitoring FSS intakes at a national scale can provide vital evidence and the basis for establishing the limits of food safety to be sold and manufactured.
- Foods advertised with high levels of FSS on children’s TV shows or TV channels. The endorsements of celebrities for these foods should be avoided. Social media sites online must also adhere to the advertising ban on unhealthy foods.
- Additional tax on processed products and beverages sweetened with sugar. The imposition of other taxes upon purchasing products like pre-packaged food items with high fat and salt content and sugar-sweetened beverages such as coffee, tea, etc. This could be a sensible way to cut down on their consumption.
- Awareness and education in nutrition. An approach that is multifaceted and involves the convergence of policies between agriculture, nutrition health, and the food industry-related sectors to result in significant reductions in FSS consumption in general. Increased awareness and knowledge of consumers through public health campaigns and education in schools to assist in making better food choices for people.
- Advocate for reformulation of commercialized goods. Encourage the voluntary reformulation of food items to lower the amount of trans fats (i.e., trans and saturated fats), sugar (free sugars), and salt in packaged food products.
- Positive nutritional labeling can help create awareness among the public to help make better food choices. A detailed guideline from the FSSAI’s panel, specifically designed for issues related to labeling, is sought.
- Offer a nutrient-sensitive environment, allowing the consumer to make healthy choices consistently.
The document is designed to serve as an outline document to reduce the consumption of sugar, fat, and salt from processed food products for all participants, including the FSSAI industry, consumers, and the FSSAI.