FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has directed State food safety commissioners to take action against brands that are misusing the term ORS (Oral Rehdyration Salts) on the labels of beverage products. Terming it as a case of misbranding, the regulator said such products labelled with terms containing ORS are misleading for consumers and could be harmful for patients.
The food safety authority said it has received complaints that some fruit-based and non-carbonated ready-to-drink beverage manufacturers use terms such as ORSL, ORSL Rehydrate, and Electro Plus ORS, among others, which are similar to ORS.
Read: March 2022 Issue of Food InfoTech Magazine.
“The use of term ‘ORS’ or similar to ‘ORS’ and/or depiction of the food products as ‘ORS’ on their labels or through advertisement is not allowed under the food safety and standards regulations and use of such terms may render the products as ‘Misbranded Food’, which may render such FBOs liable for punishment under Section 52 and Section 53 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,” the authority stated in an order.
The regulator stated that ORS is governed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules which is used for the treatment of acute diarrhoea and needs to have a specific composition prescribed by the Drugs Controller General of India.
“However, the marketing and labelling of the fruit based beverages being manufactured by the FBOs under FSSAI Licenses and naming such products with the terms which contain ‘ORS’ is not only misleading for the ordinary consumers but also harmful for the patients who may consume such products especially in the case of the children and may have serious health repercussions,” it added.
FSSAI said that State food safety commissioners should take “appropriate actions” against such companies. It added that they should issue “improvement notices” to such companies, directing them to rectify the labelling defects highlighted immediately and ensuring that the term ORS is not used for labelling of such products. It has also asked State food safety commissioners that if the such brands fail to rectify their label they should initiate “appropriate legal action as per the provisions of the FSS Act 2006 and Regulations against the defaulting Food Business Operators”.
Also Read: National Institute of Nutrition to Launch Dietary Guidelines.
According to the Food Safety and Standards [Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, packaged food products cannot be “described or presented on any label or in any labelling that is “false, misleading or deceptive” or likely to “create an erroneous impression regarding its character in any respect”.