New Delhi, Dec 16 (PTI) The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has recommended a complete ban on celebrities endorsing foods high in salt, sugar or fat.
Delivering her opening address at the briefing, Sunita Narain, Director General, CSE, said, “The government is considering amending the Consumer Protection Act to provide for five-year jail term or a penalty of Rs 50 lakh to hold celebrities responsible for false and misleading claims.
“But the same amendment says that there will be no liability if precautions are taken and due diligence is done before deciding to endorse a product. In other words, this amendment amounts to nothing.”
The expert committee on Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 has recommended a penalty of Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment of up to two years or both for a first offence by a celebrity responsible for false and misleading claims. The penalty is Rs 50 lakh and five-year imprisonment for a second offence.
“But there are two problems with this proposal one, manufacturers have not been held equally guilty and two, celebrities may not understand the science behind the claims and conduct due diligence,” said Amit Khurana, Programme Manager, Food Safety and Toxins team, CSE.
Some of the suggestions made by CSE are strengthening nutrition facts labeling system, ascertaining nutrients, approving food advertisements, banning celebrities from endorsing foods high in salt, sugar or fat and instituting and enforcing stringent legal and financial penalties for misleading claims.
The speakers at the workshop included Sanjay Khajuria, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestle India; Ishi Khosla, Nutritionist and Founder, The Weight Monitor; Shriram Khanna, Managing Editor, Consumer Voice; Rajesh Sagar, Professor and Head, Deparment of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences; Santosh Desai, MD and CEO, Future Brands; Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India; and Hem Pande, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs.