The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is learnt to have taken cognisance of a report released by Swiss NGO Public Eye that accuses Nestle of adding sugar to its infant cereal products sold under brand Cerelac in India. Sources said the food safety authority will analyse the claims made in the report and will place the findings before a scientific panel.

On its part, Nestle India stressed that it “never compromises” on the nutritional quality of its products and its products manufactured in India are in “full and strict” compliance with global food standards and Indian nutrient specifications.

“We would like to assure that our infant cereals products are manufactured to ensure the appropriate delivery of nutritional requirements such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and iron for early childhood. We never compromise and will never compromise on the nutritional quality of our products,” Nestle India said in a fresh statement released on Thursday.

“Compliance is an essential characteristic of Nestlé India and we will never compromise on that. We also ensure that our products manufactured in India are in full and strict compliance with CODEX standards (a commission established by WHO and FAO) and local specifications (as required) pertaining to the requirement of all nutrients, including added sugars,” it added.

The report, released by Public Eye and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBAN), stated that in India “all Cerelac baby cereals contain added sugar, on average nearly three grams per serving.” However, Nestle India said that reduction of “added sugars” is a priority and that over the past five years, it has reduced added sugars by up to 30 per cent in its infant cereal portfolio, depending on the variant. “We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce the level of added sugars, without compromising on nutrition, quality, safety, and taste,” the packaged food major added.

Sources said that the analysis regarding the report’s claims will be placed before the scientific panel tasked with developing standards for the infant nutrition segment. businessline’s queries to FSSAI went unanswered till press time.

The ongoing controversy cast a shadow on the share price of Nestle India, which was down about 3 per cent on NSE at Rs 2471 a piece at the close of market hours on Thursday.

The report released by Public Eye has expressed concerns over “high levels of added sugar” found in baby products sold by Nestle under brands Cerelac and Nido in low and middle-income countries. It further said these products are sold “without added sugar” in developed markets such as Switzerland.

This comes at a time when packaged food companies are coming under increasing scrutiny worldwide. Recently, both FSSAI and the Commerce Ministry directed e-commerce companies to ensure that dairy, cereal and malt-based beverage mixes are not sold under the “health drinks” category. FSSAI also said there were no standards for health drinks in the Food Safety and Standards Act.