Representative photo: Peter Bond/Unsplash
New Delhi: A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking direction to the government to frame guidelines on ‘health star rating’ and impact assessment for food items and beverages.
The petition, likely to come up for hearing in the coming days, sought a direction to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to examine WHO Recommendations on fat, salt and sugar intake, the guidelines on ‘Health Impact Assessment’ and the ‘Health Star Rating System’ used in US, Australia and New Zealand and prepare a detailed report within three months.
The PIL, filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, also sought direction to the Centre to frame guidelines to ensure that ‘health rating’ as well as ‘health warning’ is printed on the front side of the packaging and to make ‘Health Impact Assessment’ and ‘Environment Impact Assessment’ mandatory for all the industries producing packed food items and beverages.
Direct the states to take apposite steps for compliance of the guidelines on ‘health star rating’, ‘health warning system’, ‘health impact assessment’ and ‘environment impact assessment, it said.
The petition, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, claimed that FSSAI neither conducts ‘health impact assessment’ nor implements ‘health star rating system’.
The injury to citizens is extremely large because due to inaction of Centre and FSSAI, the right to health guaranteed under Article 21 is being brazenly offended. Healthy diet is necessary to prevent all forms of malnutrition (wasting, stunting, inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity) as well as diet related non-communicable diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers) and lowers the risk of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
FSSAI neither conducts ‘Health Impact Assessment’ nor introduced ‘Health Star Rating System’ so citizens are forced to consume food, high in energy, fats and sugars and less fibre rich food fruits juices vegetables and grains, the petition said.