Hyderabad: Compliance of nutrient labelling in terms of salt on packaged food products is low, according to a study published in Nutrition and Health.
The study was conducted on products approved by the Food and Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).
As per the guidelines of the FSSAI, the salt content was tabulated. However, the compliance level was low.
The study covered 11 large retail chains and was found that salt content was high in sauces, spreads and convenience foods.
Rehmat Fatima, a nutritionist, said, “Convenience foods have a higher salt content as they are stored. To maintain the nutrient value, texture and colour, salt content added to them is higher. Many studies have shown that salt content in them ranges from 800 mg to 1,355 mg per 100 gm.”
In sauces and spreads it ranges from 800 mg to 2,000 mg per 100 gm. The traditional food items like pickles, parathas and chutneys also contain a high amount of salt.
A senior FSSAI official pointed out, “The guidelines are being framed to cover foods which have a short shelf life. But controlling products with long shelf life is a task. We have to hold talks with food manufacturers and device a plan.”
As far as food producers are concerned, controlling the salt level is a major task. Sunil Aggarwal, a food producer in the city, said, “There is a need to bring about a change in the preparation of foods with long shelf life. They require different types of packaging materials which are not available. The compliance level will improve once different methods are introduced.”
Suneetha Premlatha, another nutritionist, noted, “Reading labels requires scientific knowledge about the making of foods. Many consumers check the salt and fat levels before picking up products. But they also need to check the serving size on the label as it will give an idea of the total calories and grams consumed per serving.”
The unorganised food production market constitutes a 70 per cent of the total segment. Since it does not come under the lens of the authorities, awareness is the only option left....