Pawan Kumar Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), speaks to Reuters during an interview in New Delhi, India, March 7, 2017. Picture taken on March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
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Several food and drink multinationals and trade groups met in recent weeks to discuss how to lobby more effectively against Indian proposals for higher taxes and stricter labelling rules on fatty or sugary foods, sources familiar with the talks said.PepsiCo and Nestle in India did not comment directly on the meeting or its outcome.Its members, who also discussed ways to offer more nutritious products, plan to send a joint representation to the government and approach health and food officials to express concerns about stringent regulations.India's carbonated drinks sector is estimated to grow an average 3.7 percent annually between 2017 and 2021, while the packaged food sector will grow by 8 percent a year during the same period, Euromonitor International estimates.Separately, the prime minister's office asked PepsiCo to outline how it would reduce sugar in beverages sold in India, the aide added.India has been slow to finalize rules on products high in fat, sugar and salt, whose consumption health advocates say urgently needs to be checked to safeguard public health.Agarwal denied industry pressure was affecting the implementation of tighter regulations, adding that India was nudging companies to make healthier products while working on new rules.McDonald's India did not comment on the government's discussions on a nationwide "fat tax".
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