Brands who use words like ‘Pure’, ‘Natural’, ‘Fresh’ and ‘Authentic’ on their various food products cannot do so from July 1 next.
Reports stated that if the brands want to use such words, they will either have to take permission or carry a disclaimer about the same under the latest mandate of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
In case the brand fails to do so, the manufacturers will burn a huge hole in their pockets – Rs 10 lakh as fine for the violation.
A FSSAI official stated that food products which carry words like ‘genuine’ and ‘original’, “fly off the shelves”.
He further stated, “When a company uses the word ‘real’ for a food product, for instance, it implies that it is the only real/original product, which violates the advertisement act of FSSAI. This creates a false perception of a product for customers.”
Even words used by companies and brands like ‘Fresh’, ‘Natural’ and ‘Pure’ on their food products will now on have to go with a disclaimer – ‘this is only a brand name or trademark and does not represent its true nature’.
Only food items which have been cut, peeled, chilled and trimmed and which has undergone other processing necessary to make it fit for consumption, can be referred to as ‘Fresh’.
Companies and brands can also use the word ‘Fresh’ if the food items are unprocessed and “all the nutritive values in them are intact”.
The FSSAI statement further stated, “These regulations are aimed at establishing fairness in claims and advertisements of food products and make food businesses accountable for such claims /advertisements so as to protect consumer interests.”
A scrutiny done by two researchers of the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune last year on 1,200 Indian food advertisements revealed that nearly 60 per cent of such advertisements are “misleading in nature”. FSSAI rules and codes of the Advertising Standards Council of India are “thrown out of the window”.
As per the new regulations, companies cannot go tub-thumping about their products that they have been recommended by medical practitioners or medical associations.
If they do so, each such assertions will have to be substantiated. So, the next time you all go out to shop, please do not get carried away by the tall claims made by the brands of its various food products.