Home Blog Fssai Mandates Proper Labels For Whole Wheat, Brown Bread

Fssai Mandates Proper Labels For Whole Wheat, Brown Bread

by EzeeProjects01

In a move that will please diet conscious citizens, the FSSAI (Food Safety And Standards Authority of India) headquartered in New Delhi has laid down firm labelling guidelines for bread manufacturers. These will come into force from May next year.

Bakeries will need to ensure that whole wheat bread is made of at least 75% whole wheat flour and brown bread contains at least 50% whole wheat flour. At present there is vast ambiguity over the ingredients employed by existing brands. Manufacturers use ingredients as per their own individual recipe. Brown bread may be just that — brown — made from maida just like white bread. It acquires its golden hue from food colour that is added to the dough. Whole wheat bread, albeit of higher nutritional status, has no standardised quantity of the main labelled ingredient.

Salauddin Khan, director of Kwality Bakery, and member of the Indian Bakers Association said, “As organised manufacturers, we welcome the authorities’ move towards standardisation and labelling. FSSAI has taken this step because it has the welfare of consumers at heart. But the unorganised sector, which constitutes 80% of business, will find it difficult to adapt initially.”

Prices of bread could rise, though. “We will need to alter our recipes, cylinder apparatus and packaging,” said Khan.

Another manufacturer affiliated to IBA said, “We will incur initial one-time cost of changing labels and packaging. But it is good for the consumer to be aware and make an informed purchase.”

Khan says most consumers are satisfied by labels and are often unaware that maida is also made by processing wheat. “Even fitness enthusiasts who work out in the gym tend to trust labels and simply buy brown bread if they are advised to avoid maida or white bread, without realising it may not be made of whole wheat,” he said. In 2019, FSSAI had issued a booklet warning how colours and additives are mixed to give brown bread its hue. Senior nutritionist Geeta Shenoy says it is an “open secret” that colour is added to brown bread. “FSSAI’s new decision on proper labelling is welcome. In fact if they wish to be specific, they can even stipulate that bakers must write what type of wheat is used, its fibre content, sodium, potassium, iron, salt and added sugars (all types). People are not at all aware how many calories exist in each slice of a 400 gm loaf of bread.”

Another nutritionist said, “We never prescribe brown bread made in India. The manufacturers may write that 30% whole wheat is added to it but they do not mention the proportion of ingredients that constitute the remaining 70%. I feel the FSSAI is also partially responsible for the outcome because bakers take advantage of the unspecified aspects and loopholes of the law.”

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