FSSAI – the Indian food regulator said there are 32 new cases where food business operators (FBOs) have been prima-facie found in violation of misleading advertisements and claims. FSSAI has referred the matter to licensing authorities concerned to issue notices to these FBOs for withdrawing misleading claims or scientifically substantiate claims.
According to the press release – these FBOs include manufacturers and/or marketers of nutraceutical products, refined oils, pulses, flours, millet products, ghee etc.
“In order to keep a close tab on the claims and advertisements being made by the FBOs on their products, Advertisement Monitoring Committee of FSSAI has reported 32 fresh cases which have been found prima facie in contravention of the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018,” the regulator said in a statement.
Under these regulations, deceptive claims or advertisements are prohibited and are punishable offences under Section-53 of the FSS Act, 2006.
The food products scrutinised include various range of products like health supplements, organic products, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products, staples etc and the claims identified include various health claims, product claims etc.
“For further action, including the issuance of notices to the concerned FBOs, the same has been referred to the concerned Licensing Authorities for issuance of notices to all such FBOs for withdrawing the misleading claims or scientifically substantiate the same,” the statement said.
In case of an unsatisfactory response, the FBO is required to withdraw such claims or modify them as per the provisions of the said regulations, failing which the FBO can be penalised with a fine extending up to Rs 10 lakh as per Section-53 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, apart from other stringent punishments like suspension/cancellation of license etc in case of repeated offences.
“The total number of such cases of reported misleading advertisements and claims during last six months has gone up to 170 cases, and the action against such delinquent FBOs shall also continue in future,” the FSSAI said.
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The regulator asked all the FBOs to strictly adhere to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018 and desist from making any unscientific and/or exaggerated claims and advertisements to promote their product sales to avoid enforcement actions.