The Centre has directed e-commerce players to ensure that certain beverages including Bournvita are not categorised as health drinks on their platforms. This advisory was sent out by the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 

This comes close on the heels of the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) clarifying that there are no standards for the term “health drink”.

In its advisory issued on April 10, the DPIIT said it has come to its notice that “some of the drinks and beverages including Bournvita are categorised as ‘Health Drinks’ on e-commerce sites and platforms”. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had brought the issue to its notice.

“National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a statutory body constituted under section (3) of the commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 after its inquiry under Section 14 of CPCR Act, 2005, concluded that there is no “Health Drink” defined under FSS Act 2006, Rules and Regulations as submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd,” the ministry said in its notification dated April 10.

Misleading tag

“All e-commerce companies/ portals are hereby advised to remove drink/beverages including Bournvita from the category of “Health Drinks” from their sites/ platforms,” DPIIT stated in its advisory.

Recently, FSSAI had also expressed concerns over dairy-based beverage mix, cereal-based beverage mix and malt-based beverage mix being sold on e-commerce sites under categories such as “health drinks”.  “Health Drink is not defined/ standardised anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or rules/regulations made there under,” it stated.

It had also directed e-commerce platforms to “remove or delink” such beverages on their sites from the health drinks category. FSSAI had pointed out that this will “enhance clarity and transparency regarding the nature and functional properties of the products, allowing consumers to make informed choices without any misleading information.”