The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on August 21, 2020 issued a notification mandating the display of calorific value of food items on menu cards at various food service establishments from January 01, 2022.
It would be relevant to mention here that the draft of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Regulations, 2018 was published by the FSSAI on October 08, 2018 and objections and suggestions were invited from persons likely to be affected by the Regulations. In view of the objections and suggestions to the Regulations received, the FSSAI has amended the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 (Regulation of 2011) by introducing a new rule i.e. Rule 2.4.6 in the Regulations. The new Rule states as follows:
“2.4.6 – Display of information in food service establishments – (1) Food Service Establishment having central license or outlets at ten or more locations shall mention the calorific value (in kcal per serving and serving size) against the food items displayed on the menu cards or boards or booklets and the reference information on calorie requirements shall also be displayed clearly and prominently as “An average active adult requires 2,000kcal per energy per day, however, calorie needs may vary.”
Display of information relating to allergens made mandatory
The FSSAI further mandates the display of information relating to food allergens on the menu card, if food consists of or is made of the following:
- Cereals containing gluten; i.e., wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or their hybridized strains and products of these;
- Crustacean and their products;
- Milk and milk products;
- Eggs and egg products;
- Fish and fish products;
- Groundnut tree nuts and their products;
- Soybeans and their products;
- Sulphite in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more:
The Rule also states that for convenience, allergens can be depicted by symbols.
The Rule additionally provides that the prescribed logo for vegetarian or non-vegetarian should also be displayed on the menu card.
Does the Rule apply to all restaurants and hotels?
As per the amendment, the impugned Rule applies to Food Service Establishments having central license or outlets at ten or more locations.
Exceptions to the Rule
Additionally, the rule also specifies the exceptions as under:
“2.4.6. – Display of information in food service establishments –
(3) The provisions of this regulation shall not be applicable to the following, namely: –
- Event caterers and food service premises that operate for less than sixty days in a calendar year (consecutively or non-consecutively);
- Self-service condiments that are free of charge and not listed in the menu card; and
- Special-order items or modified meals and menu items as per request of the customer.”
In addition to this, the food establishments such as restaurants have been instructed to mandatorily mention information concerning nutrition specific to organic food or ingredients, if applicable, “provided that deviation of 25% may be tolerated in case of nutritional information declaration.”
Does the Rule apply to E-commerce food business operators?
The new rule specifically mentions that the E-commerce Food Business Operators shall get the requisite information (as mentioned aforesaid) for the food items from the respective Food Business Operator and provide the requisite information on their website wherever applicable.
The FSSAI is of the view that by making this practice mandatory, the customers will make a more informed choice and will also empower them in making the right choices. This will help one in keeping a count of calories that one intakes and can balance their calorie intake accordingly.
The compliance to the new rule by food service establishments before January 01, 2022, is voluntary.