In an effort to check misleading advertisements, the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has asked four food companies to either withdraw or modify misleading advertisements.

These companies are Jivo Wellness Pvt Ltd (canola oil), K C Food Products (digestive biscuits), Phytotech Extracts Pvt Ltd (Proteqt) and Chemical Resources, Maharashtra (Furocycst).

The food regulator intervened after complaints against these companies were received on the GAMA (Grievances against Misleading Advertisements) web portal, which was launched by the Department of Consumer Affairs last year.

The Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), which has been appointed by the Department to process these complaints, took the matter to FSSAI after these companies failed to comply with its directions.

According to the FSSAI website, Jivo Wellness made some misleading claims about the health benefits of its canola oil product and has since withdrawn the ads.

KC Food Products (Jammu & Kashmir) had to take similar steps for its digestive biscuits product after it made claims about offering the “best digestive biscuits due to highest content of whole wheat flour than other digestive biscuits”.

Meanwhile, the FSSAI has asked Chemical Resources (Maharashtra) to modify its ads for Furocyst (for ovarian cysts) after it made claims that the drug contains US patented ingredients, had no side effects and that nearly 94 per cent of patients reported positive benefits after using it.

Phytotech Extracts was pulled up by the authority for claims made in the advertisements which promoted its product Proteqt (treating hangovers).

The company has informed FSSAI that it has stopped manufacturing and marketing this product and was not publishing any advertisement at present.

When contacted, Shweta Purandare, Secretary General, ASCI, said: “These complaints were received on the GAMA portal and the matter was escalated to FSSAI due to non-compliance.”

She said if companies do not comply with ASCI’s directions, then the complaint is escalated with the regulator concerned to take action against such offenders.

FSSAI has in the past said it will be working closely with ASCI to check on the menace of misleading ads.

The two are also said to be looking at formalising a framework to take suo motu action against food and beverage companies for misleading claims in advertisements.

Earlier this month, the FSSAI had asked its central licensing authority to send a show-cause notice to Patanjali over complaints about misleading ads of mustard oil product.

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