New Delhi: Food manufacturers will no longer be able to use misleading claims to trick people into buying their products. New regulations issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) make it mandatory for all those selling food items for dietary use, food for special medical purposes, health supplements, novel food and nutraceuticals to declare the nutritional benefits on their products.
Importantly, they can claim their products have health benefits only if there is scientific evidence that these actually work. The new regulations also prohibit the manufacturers from making tall claims that their products can cure diseases or have drug-like efficacy.
The newly-framed Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplementaries, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations 2016 stresses the need for scientific scrutiny before such claims are made and labelled on products.
Under this, to claim ingredients, nutrients or nutritional value in respect of an article of food for “enhanced function” and “disease risk reduction”, the manufacturers will have to make available scientific literature, including official traditional texts, and post market data or consumer studies or cohort or retroactive studies based on the eating patterns and health benefits, epidemiological international and national data and other well-documented data, that will be reviewed by the food authority before labelling.
Significantly, the FSSAI prohibits implied claims like that a product will cure a certain disease, or claims of drug efficacy like it “prevents bone fragility in post-menopausal women”.