The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said that its Advertisement Monitoring Committee has reported 32 fresh cases of food companies for misleading claims and have been found “prima facie” in contravention with its regulations.

“The food products scrutinised include various range of products like health supplements, organic products, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) products, staples etc. The claims identified include various health claims, product claims etc. Further, the FBOs include manufacturers and marketers of nutraceutical products, refined oils, pulses, flours, millet products, ghee etc,” the food safety authority stated.

As per the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018, deceptive claims or advertisements are prohibited and are punishable offences under Section-53 of FSS Act, 2006. The committee keeps a close tab on the claims and advertisements being made by food business operators and reports cases, which are not in accordance with FSS (Advertisement & Claims) Regulations, 2018.

“For further action ,the cases have been referred to the concerned licensing authorities for issuance of notices to all such FBOs for withdrawing the misleading claims or scientifically substantiate the same. In case of unsatisfactory response, the FBO is required to withdraw such claims or modify them as per the provisions of the regulations,” the statement added.

The FBO can be penalised with a fine extending up to ₹10 lakh, as per Section-53 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and can also lead to suspension and cancellation of license in case of repeated offences.

Over the last six months, 170 cases have been reported by the committee for misleading advertisements and claims. The food safety authority said that it will continue to take action against “such delinquent Food Business Operators”.

“All the Food Business Operators are again advised to strictly adhere to the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018 and desist from making any unscientific and/or exaggerated claims and advertisements to promote their product sales to avoid enforcement actions and in larger consumer interests,” FSSAI added.