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OILS AND FATS

Move to make restaurants show information on oils & fats used in meals
Friday, 08 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Prashant Nikale, Mumbai
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in a significant move, has proposed that hotels and restaurants display information about oils and fats used in the preparation of different dishes. This would not only be useful for the consumers in knowing what they are consuming in terms of oil and fat content, but would also indicate the food safety and hygiene practices followed by the eatery.

A senior official from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra stated that the proposal was still in the primary phase of draft processing, adding that they had not received any notice from the country’s apex food regulator. Though he hoped that they would receive it soon. Nevertheless, the restaurant industry has welcomed the step and opined that it will create awareness, from both the consumers’ and the hotels’ and restaurants’ perspectives, about safe, hygienic and healthy food.
Prakul Kumar, secretary-general, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), said, “Restaurants have already begun to indicate the details of the ingredients being used to prepare a dish, and therefore, indicating the cooking medium used should not be an issue. Such details will help customers to make informed choices on what to eat.”

Sanjay Mamgain, corporate executive sous chef, Lords Hotels and Resorts, said, “It will be a great eye-opener for businesses and consumers alike, as both will know what they are serving and consuming, respectively. While the former will use healthier cooking media, the latter will become health-conscious, as these would result in the reduction of heart problems, which are prevalent across the country.”

“If the proposal is initiated, it is more likely to affect the smaller players, including street food vendors, bakeries and fried snack shops. Almost 90 per cent of food business operators (FBOs) in the unorganised sector usually opt for partially hydrogenated oils and fats,” he added.

Mamgain stated, “Using better oils will increase their costs. This will, in turn, impact their profit margins. Consumers will opt for food that is of a higher quality, healthier and available at better food outlets with little or no price difference, as there will be greater awareness as a result of the sale of labelled food. So, in the long run, only businesses that serve really good food, using the right kinds of oils and fats, and remain cost-competitive will continue to flourish.”
 
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