The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified new regulations that will make it mandatory to display the calorie count of food items on the menu cards of restaurant chains and online food aggregators by 2022 .
Catering establishments (restaurants) with licenses or central outlets at 10 or more locations will be required to display the “kcal calorific value per serving and serving size” of foods on menu cards, booklets or charts. Even e-commerce food business operators will need to get their partner restaurants to display food calorie information on their digital platforms.
Consultations with industry stakeholders on the First Amendment of the Food Safety Regulation 2020 and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) have taken place over the past two years. FSSAI officials believe this will enable consumers to make the right food choices. Compliance with this regulation before January 1, 2022 will be voluntary, the notification said on Wednesday.
Industry players, however, have said that implementing these regulations is difficult and should remain voluntary. In the past, too, concerns have been raised about the legal consequences of claims through calorie claims on menus by industry bodies.
According to the regulation: “Baseline information on caloric needs must also be displayed clearly and in a prominent position because“ the average active adult needs 2,000 kcal of energy per day; however, calorie requirements may vary.
In addition, restaurants will need to clearly display information about potential allergens on their menu cards, if the food contains ingredients such as cereals containing gluten, milk and dairy products, fish and fish products. , peanuts, tree nuts and soy, among others. The logos of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes should also be displayed on menu cards, booklets or menu boards.
However, this regulation will not apply to event caterers and catering establishments that operate less than 60 days per year. At the same time, free self-service condiments, special order meal dishes or modified dishes and personalized menu dishes at the request of consumers will not be covered by this Regulation.
The regulation also stipulated that catering establishments should provide other nutritional information, including that related to organic foods or ingredients, “provided that a deviation of 25% can be tolerated in case of declaration of nutrition information”.
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), said implementing these regulations will not be easy as most restaurants do not serve food. Standardized items and the number of calories for the same dish can vary widely depending on the chef, recipes and ingredients. He said the regulations come at a time when the hotel and restaurant industry is in dire straits as business is hit by the pandemic.
Industry players believe that only QSR chains that serve standardized items can implement these regulations. While the standards are currently voluntary for restaurant chains and e-commerce food aggregators, industry bodies have said they will bring concerns to FSSAI about the regulations.