current affairs - 2023-10-25

Food labels to have QR codes to help the visually disabled



To make food safe for everyone, including those with special needs, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has advised using rapid response (QR) codes on food products for accessibility by people with visual impairments.


What does FSSAI tell about accessibility for the visually impaired?

  • Fundamental Right of Accessibility: According to the FSSAI, every citizen has a fundamental right to inclusive access to information. This implies that everyone has the right to know what information about the food they eat, even those who are visually impaired.
  • Regulatory Framework: The Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, which have detailed in detail the information that has to be on food product labels, are under the FSSAI’s suggestion. This contains information such as the name of the product, its shelf life, its nutrition statistics, logos designating it as vegetarian or non-vegetarian, ingredient lists, allergen warnings, and other particular labelling needs.

How will this new initiative help the visually impaired?

  • Encouraging Consumer Choices: The goal of these rules is to give consumers the ability to choose food goods with knowledge. Making informed decisions is essential for safety and wellness.
  • The 2016 Rights of People with Disabilities Act: This act emphasizes accessibility and the promotion of health for people with disabilities, acknowledging their rights and needs. Accordingly, people with disabilities ought to have equal access to opportunities and information for preserving their health and well-being.
  • Improving Accessibility: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) advises food industry owners to make it easier for visually impaired people to obtain nutritional information. Ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to information and opportunities is a larger goal that includes this.

How does the initiative work?

  • QR Codes for Accessibility: Quick Response (QR) codes should be used on food product labels, according to the FSSAI. Complete product information, such as ingredients, nutritional data, allergies, manufacturing date, best before/expiry/use by date, allergen notice, and contact details for customer concerns, should be included in these QR codes.
  • Enhancing Current Labeling Requirements: It’s important to note that the use of QR codes for accessibility does not take the place of or waive the need to include required information on the product label, as required by applicable legislation. Rather, it enhances these specifications, guaranteeing that consumers with visual impairments can obtain essential information in addition to the conventional label content.


In conclusion, the FSSAI’s suggestion centres on the rights of people with disabilities—more especially, those who have visual impairments—to obtain critical information about the food items they eat. To do this, they advise using QR codes, which offer a wealth of information, on product labels. This way, every customer can make an informed decision while taking their dietary requirements and constraints into account.