No More misleading words on food packages

No More misleading words on food packages

No more lies from food companies and no more misleading words on food packages! FSSAI prohibits use of terms like natural, authentic, traditional, and pure from packaged foods.

To protect consumers from food companies that are trying to sell their food products by stating natural or traditional or any such words FSSAI has acted in India. It is introducing new regulations by banning food companies from using words such as original, authentic, genuine, real, fresh, natural, traditional, and pure on the food labels.

Exception for this rule is washed, peeled, chilled, trimmed, or other processing stages that alter basic characteristics of the packed food. This new regulation is coming in effect soon.

Food companies to make profit, have been using such terms which attracts consumers. Branded companies are no exception for this. The new regulation also controls the several such claims that food companies can make in their promotions or advertisements. In addition to these words nutrition claims, non-addition claims, sugars, and sodium salts, claims about dietary guidelines, diet, health claims of the products are under surveillance of FSSAI. The new regulation also bans use of words like home-made, home cooked as it might give a mistaken impression to the consumer. The food pack label must specific quantities of ingredients salt, sugar, and vitamins to back any claims for products that are said to be high or low with any of these ingredients.

“As per the new regulations claims made in the advertisements will be consistent with information provided on the label. Also, the label should have words implying the food is recommended, prescribed or approved by any doctors or for medical purpose”!

“Every food business operator and marketer while advertising and publishing or disseminating marketing communication meant for promotion or sale of any article of food including labelling claims shall comply” FSSAI. These rules are primarily aimed at restricting an open-ended use of these words and phrases by food businesses on frivolous grounds as per FSSAI communication to press.

According FSSAI, companies using synonyms of these terms or words will have to give a clear disclaimer not less than 3 mm size need to be printed stating “this is only a brand name or trade mark and does not represent its true nature”.  In addition, the guidelines will prohibit food companies from comparative marketing and advertisement. Food companies will not be allowed to make claims undermining the products of competitors as to promote their own products to influence consumers to buy product. Companies will have penalized if they mislead consumers. Penalty for misleading advertisements is up to INR 1mn! (about US $14,000)

Some Indian food manufacturers are not happy about the rule that is going to be effective from July 1st of next year. One of the reason is “the area on the label is not sufficient for all these kind of declarations” FSSAI press release states that  “FSSAI has invited suggestions and objections from stakeholders within 30 days from the publication of the draft regulations. These regulations, after consideration of stakeholder comments and finalization, will come into force on the date of their final publication in the Gazette on India”.

FSSAI is becoming strict in recent years to protect consumers and implementing such rules for the safety of public health. With new rule, food companies will have to make claims based on available scientific information and international best practices.

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Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: May 14, 2019

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