NEW DELHI: India's apex food regulator has finalised norms related to claims and advertisements of food products.
These regulations are aimed at establishing fairness in claims and advertisements of food products and will make food businesses accountable for their claims in advertisements in order to protect consumer interests, read a statement issued by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The new regulations will come into effect from July 1 next year.
As per these regulations, firms running food businesses cannot use words or phrases such as natural, fresh, original, traditional, authentic, genuine, real on the food labels, barring some exceptions. Such restrictions are primarily aimed at restricting an open-ended use of these words by food businesses on frivolous grounds
These regulations contain several sections detailing definitions; general principles for claims and advertisements; criteria for nutrition claims (including nutrient content or nutrient comparative claims), non-addition claims (including non-addition of sugars and sodium salts), health claims (reduction of disease risk), claims related to dietary guidelines or healthy diets, and conditional claims.
Advertisements of a food product that undermines the importance of healthy lifestyles or portrays the food product as a complete replacement of normal meal are not permitted. Also, food businesses will also be prohibited to advertise or make claim undermining the products of other manufacturer so as to promote their own food products or influence consumer behaviour.
Many claims, listed in various schedules of these regulations with related criteria, are permitted to be made by food business operators without the need for seeking prior approval from the food regulator.
However, other types of claims not standardised under these regulations may require approval from the Food Authority and should be supported with sound scientific basis, the regulator said.
Any person, including a third party, who puts out an advertisement or is a party to the publication of any misleading advertisement, not complying with these regulations, would be penalised with a fine extending up to Rs 10 lakh, as per Section 53 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.