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Label Management
Published:
May 27, 2024
Updated:
May 27, 2024

The Ultimate Checklist for FSSAI Labeling and Regulations

Shirly Christy

The Ultimate Checklist for FSSAI Labeling and Regulations

Published:
May 13, 2024
Updated:
May 27, 2024
Shirly Christy

Highlights

I still remember the first time I started looking at nutrition labels at the back of every food product, after we found that Maggi has lead extracts in it. 

That incident bought a monumental shift in the consumption mindset of Indian consumers. A study conducted in 2018 amongst Indian consumers revealed that around 88.2% of the consumers are becoming more ‘food-aware’. Consumer concerns about food safety, FSSAI food grading, and FSSAI labeling and packaging standards have become an increasingly important issue. 

Food and consumer safety is paramount to consumers all over the world. Having regulatory approved labeling is essential to help consumers make informed decisions and also protect your brand image. In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), stands as the regulatory body that is responsible for setting  food safety and labeling standards across the country. These labeling regulations are designed to promote transparency in the food industry. 

If you are someone in the food production, food packaging, or food distribution industry, or even want to bring your food business to India, this blog post will help you understand everything about FSSAI's labeling regulations and how you can ensure your food products labels can comply with them with the help of AI. Let's dive in!

Understanding FSSAI’s labeling regulations 

Let’s say you walk into your closest supermarket and see all the colorful packaged food lying on the shelves. I know the packaging will make your stomach rumble, but how do you know if it's safe to eat? 

Here’s where FSSAI comes into the picture. 

Like the FDA for the US, FSSAI is the body that protects consumer safety in India. It sets standards enforcing regulations with respect to public health. The primary laws regulating food safety standards in India are as follows: 

  1. Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (Act No. 34 of 2006): This is the primary act that established the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and consolidated various existing laws related to food safety under one act, including: 
  • Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 
  • Fruit Products Order, 1955 
  • Meat Products Order, 1973
  • Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
  • Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998
  • Solvent Extracted Oil, De-oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967
  • Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 

While the 2006 Act is the main legislation, FSSAI also functions based on rules and regulations framed under the act. The two important regulations are:

  1. Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011
  2. Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011

Now that we’ve understood what FSSAI does, let’s take a closer look at why it becomes important for food producers to comply with FSSAI standards.

Why is it important for food brands to comply with FSSAI standards? 

Alright, let’s get down to business. For starters, any kind of non-compliance with FSSAI standards is a recipe for disaster. It leads to hefty fines on an average amounting to over  500 crores, product recalls, and even damages your brand reputation. 

Let’s look at an example here.

On January 10th, 2024 Vandevi Asafoetida yellow powder produced by Kinjin Food Pvt Ltd, Maharashtra was recalled due to the presence of undeclared wheat allergens. 

Kinjin Foods Private Limited recalled their 50 gm, 100 gm, 200 gm & 500 gm, 1 Kg packets of "Asafoetida” Vandevi Yellow powder because they contained undeclared traces of wheat. Wheat allergies can trigger allergic reactions like hives, stomach cramps, indigestion, and cause anaphylaxis in extreme cases. 

See? A simple labeling slip-up can cause severe damage to your consumers and your brand. When it comes to labeling, there are no excuses. But our new AI tool, ComplyAI can help you tackle all your labeling nightmares and make sure that all the right products hit the shelves every time. Continue reading and see how Comply AI can become your labeling regulatory bestie! 

What are the FSSAI labeling regulations that food producers need to comply with?

FSSAI regulations are a comprehensive set of guidelines that all food product manufacturers and brands should follow. FSSAI imposes the following labeling regulations that all food businesses must adhere to: 

Name of the food 

The first thing is to ensure that the product name is prominently displayed in a clear format on the packaged product so it allows consumers to easily identify it. 

List of ingredients

Manufacturers must transparently list all ingredients used in the product in a fair manner to make sure it complies with regulations and allows consumers to make the right choice. 

Nutritional information 

It is essential to have details such as calorie content, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and essential nutrients listed, aiding consumers in making informed dietary choices.

Declaration regarding vegetarian or non-vegetarian food products

To respect cultural and religious beliefs, products should be labeled clearly as vegetarian or non-vegetarian, indicated by distinctive green or red symbols, respectively.

Declaration regarding food additives

Any food additives (food colorings and flavor enhancers) used in the product must be declared on the packaging, ensuring transparency about the product's composition.

Name and address of the manufacturer 

The packaging label needs to have complete details of the manufacturer, including name and location, to establish authenticity and accountability.

Net quantity

The weight of the product, including packaging, should be clearly mentioned to avoid any confusion regarding quantity. 

Code No./Lot No./Batch No

Identification numbers like batch or lot numbers ensure traceability and quality control, aiding in product identification, if necessary. 

Date of Manufacture, Best Before, and Use By Dates

Clear indications of manufacturing and expiration dates help consumers assess product freshness and safety.

Country of origin for imported food

For imported goods, specifying the country of origin is essential for transparency and compliance with import regulations.

Instructions for use 

Consumers need to be provided with clear instructions on how to use the product safely and effectively, enhancing user experience and satisfaction.

FSSAI decides the content architecture, the placement of content – what goes on the front or back – the sizes of different texts, typefaces to be used, and the amount of area the information should cover on all food and beverage labeling.

Packaging artwork is covered too. For example, the logos that indicate ingredients, radiation processed foods, and fortified and organic foods, should match the exact dimensions and color provided.

It’s important to make a detailed note of these regulations when designing product packaging. But several companies often miss out on certain aspects and fall in the disapproval zone.

How should your food product look according to FSSAI regulations?

Let me help you understand it with the help of an example. FSSAI has mandated specific parameters to ensure that your food products meet the safety and transparency standards. I know your packaging designers are going to love this section. 

Front side of the packaging 

The front side of the food product needs to have the following: 

  1. Name of the product 
  2. Nutrition claims 
  3. Health claims 
  4. Veg/Non-veg logo

Back side of the packaging 

The back side of the food product needs to have the following: 

  1. Ingredients list 
  2. Net quantity 
  3. Nutrition facts panel 
  4. Best before date 
  5. Allergen declaration

By meeting these packaging regulations, you will be complying with FSSAI standards while also providing consumers with trustworthy information about your product. 

And yet, here is where the confusion begins for most companies.

But, what are the reasons for non-compliance to FSSAI standards? 

Let me list them out for you: 

  1. There are a myriad of rules and guidelines to adhere to, that make FSSAI compliance time-consuming and confusing. 
  2. Accurately listing ingredients and nutritional information, managing batch tracking and expiry dates, and staying compliant requires meticulous attention to detail and extensive resources.
  3. Struggle to keep up with the changing regulatory requirements, leading to potential risks such as product recalls, fines and penalties, and raise consumer safety concerns. Without a comprehensive solution to streamline compliance processes, manufacturers face significant barriers to success in the highly competitive food market.

A comprehensive solution for label compliance –  ComplyAI

ComplyAI is an AI-native feature built to solve label compliance in highly regulated industries. It gives you a smarter, AI-powered way to make label reviews simple and seamless so you can go to market faster. 

Your current label review cycle will have you going back and forth between design, NPD, marketing, and regulatory teams to just create that one single packaging design that is going to hit the shelf. And this madness mostly ensues via email, Slack, or other unwieldy communication channels. I’m sure this is not a sustainable approach. This is only going to lead to miscommunication, loss of crucial feedback, and wasted resources. 

Here’s how ComplyAI can tackle FSSAI label compliance in a much simpler manner for you. 

ComplyAI helps you create customized rulebooks based on the regulatory standards you need to comply with that include parameters like typography, orthography, icons, safety logos, usage directions, warning statements, and more. Once you  build your custom rules and group your requirements, you’re ready to run AI-driven compliance checks. 

Quick example check – What if Kinji Foods Pvt Ltd from our previous example had used Comply AI? 

Here’s the answer. 

Simply putting in their labels, customizing their rules, and running the AI check will give them a detailed breakdown of what they need to fix in their labels before hitting the shelves. 

And boom! There might have been no product recalls and absolutely no hefty fines. 

So why wait? See how Comply AI can make a whole lot of difference in your label review process and help you comply with FSSAI requirements. Ditch manual reviews and get smarter with your label compliance process by using Comply AI — book a demo now. 

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