The vertex food regulator, FSSAI has released an advisory concerning strict compliance with the allowances of Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Food (Regulations of Production, Supply and Distribution) (IMS) Act, 1992 (41 of 1992).
The FSSAI has appealed all the related food businesses including e-commerce platforms to inflexibly stick with the provisions of the IMS Act, ‘in letter and spirit and abstain from following surrogate promotions’.
The issued advisory states that- “All the Central licensing authorities and appointed officials of FSSAI and the Commissioners of Food Safety of all the states are recommended to closely keep the track of the products and marketing activities of the concerned FBOs including any sister non-profit or otherwise association, institute being run by these FBOs and in case of any infringement is found then harsh legal action may be started against them by lodging a written grievance before the court.”
The apex food regulator has also sought action taken report from state authorities from time to time into the matter.
Under the IMS Act, the office bearer or the food safety officer can file a complaint in a court urging to take notice of any wrong-doing punishable under the Act.
According to the FSSAI, advertising, promoting and encouraging the use or sale of infant milk replacements or feeding bottles or infant foods are banned under the IMS Act. Further, incitement to health workers for advocating use of infant milk substitute etc. including conference, contest, educational course, fellowship, funding of seminar, meeting, research work or sponsorship are also forbidden.
The violation of the provisions of the IMS Act can lead to imprisonment for upto 3 years.
It is relevant to mention here that in 2019, accusations were made against leading food company Nestle for infraction of the IMS Act by financing a seminar of doctors.