Have you ever read the information written on the back of your favourite chocolate wrapper? Or wondered what & why is it even written there? Rather than reading the content on the packaging, most of us like to focus on eating the chocolate. But reading about what you are eating is just as important.
That boring content in very small font & format is called the product’s food labelling. And written or graphic matter displayed on the label or accompanying the food is called Food labelling. This content tells consumers about the ingredients and nutritional compositions of the food product.
Every country has comprehensive laws and policies in place for regulating food labelling to customer awareness & quality control. In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) makes such regulations for food labelling.
Recently in 2020, FSSAI brought in a new additional regulation called Food Safety And Standards (Labelling And Display) Regulations, (FSSAI Food Labelling Regulations), to regulate similar kind of food labelling in restaurants. These new regulations are created to help consumers to make informed choices about their food preferences.
This regulation was earlier a mandate only for pre-packaged food items & producers. However, the new regulations make it mandatory for restaurants and e-commerce platforms to display certain information.
FSSAI has made it compulsory for restaurants to label their food items from 1st January 2022. According to new guidelines, menu cards for restaurant chains and online food aggregators must display the nutritional information, calorie amount of food products, etc. If you are in the food business, you must know about these FSSAI regulations. This blog will take you through the requirements of FSSAI Food Labelling Regulations for restaurant establishments.
FSSAI Food Labelling Regulations for Restaurants
FSSAI Food Labelling Regulations aim to offer consumers all nutritional facts about their food. For pre-packaged food products, FSSAI has made it mandatory to declare allergen information, per serve contribution of nutrients to recommended dietary allowances (RDA), expiry date (by making best before declaration optional), new logo and symbols for non-veg and food items not meant for human consumption, etc. Every pre-packaged food needs to follow these guidelines before entering the market.
Food labelling rules created for the restaurants:
What Do Restaurants Need To Do?
As per the FSSAI food labelling regulations every food service establishment like restaurants, cafes, QSRs, etc. must
- Display information about allergens* (which could be depicted as easy-to-remember symbols)
- Logos for non-veg or veg food on their menu card or display boards
- Restaurants also need to present nutritional information like information on artificial sweeteners, caffeine contains, etc.
*if some foods or ingredients like peanuts, tree nuts, cereals containing gluten, soybeans, milk, egg, fish, etc., are used during the product preparation.
The regulations also mandate a separate allergen warning even when ingredients present in the food could cause cross-contamination. Therefore, if restaurants want to use any food mentioned above as ingredients, they will have to provide allergen information on the label.
Who Is Exempted?
Event caterers operating for less than 60 days in a year are not required to follow the FSSAI food labelling regulations. Moreover, special order items and modified meals per the customer’s request are exempted from following these requirements.
Food Labelling For The Food Chains
Apart from the information required in point 1, food chains with ten or more outlets operating in the country or with a central license (typically establishments operating in multiple states) like McDonald’s, Dominos, Starbucks, etc. have to additionally mention specific calorific value against food items on menu cards, boards or booklets in kcal per serving.
They also have to clearly and prominently write a statement, “An average active adult requires 2000 kcal energy per day; however, caloric needs may vary“.
Food Labelling For The Aggregators
E-commerce food service operators like Zomato, Swiggy, etc., must adhere to the FSSAI food labelling regulation. They must acquire this information from the restaurants and publish it on their platforms for the consumers.
What If You Don’t Do it?
If any restaurant fails to comply with the provisions of these regulations, the food safety administration can serve them an ‘improvement notice.’ If the restaurant doesn’t follow through with improvement notice, its license may be suspended.
Impact of FSSAI Food Labelling Regulations
The FSSAI implemented the Labelling Regulations to bolster FSSAI’s commitment to providing safe food to all classes of consumers.
1. More Work for Restaurants
The restaurants are required to display information about their menu’s nutritional value, allergens, etc. It may appear like additional work for the restaurants to redesign the menu card and display boards and keep a more careful tab on their ingredients; however, it offers multiple benefits to the restaurants in the long run.
Especially given that now customers are slowly & gradually shifting towards a healthier consumer habits & lifestyle, this would help attract those customers.
2. Informed Decisions
As food chains are now required to label their food dishes, consumers will have access to the calorie value of their favourite dishes across all of their favourite outlets. They can now make informed decisions about their food choices. Information relating to allergens, nutritional values, and warning labels can also go a long way in helping consumers.
3. Builds Trust
Consumers appreciate brands that maintain transparency & share accurate information about their products. Presenting calorie contents, nutritional value and allergens information will build consumer confidence. Therefore, the information will build trust, increase awareness, and raise brand value.
We hope this blog helps you in learning about FSSAI Food Labelling Regulations. To know more about the F&B industry and get regular updates, follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter!