FBOs told to comply with 5% trans fatty acids limit; pkg date extended

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in its recent direction, has asked food business operators (FBOs) to comply with maximum limits of trans fatty acids to 5% by weight as prescribed earlier by the regulator while allowing to use existing stocks of the packaging material for next six months upto June 30.

The notification in this regard was published in the month of May last year which was extended upto August, further to February 17. The direction stated, “After due consideration of representations received from the stakeholders, requesting for deferment of implementation of the said regulation for the purpose of utilising the existing stock of their packaging material, the time line for compliance of Notification No. 1 (94) 2015/ Notification P&L/ Enf/ FSSAI dated May 25, 2016, is hereby further extended upto June 30, 2017.”

Meanwhile, the direction with regard to compliance to maximum limits of the trans fatty acids, stated, “Food business operators shall comply with the Notification No. 4/1505/30/2011 dated August 4, 2015, with respect to maximum limit of trans fatty acids as not more than 5% by weight with effect from February 28, 2017.”

Atul Chaturvedi, president, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), said, “The regulator has addressed major concern again with allowing usage of packaging material. Several major brands have filed their representations with the regulator and regulator has always been considering industry views. The last extension which regulator gave came with a charge fee that has to be paid to enable extension which ensured that industry players which are filing representations are really affected with the amendments in the law.”

“The limit of total trans fatty acids is a healthy move which is actually a trend recently. People are moving towards healthy products. Soon will be the time when brands will have a healthy edition of the products like chips and usual snacks. The regulator, on this instance has stated that it wants brands to serve healthier products. I am sure that the food industry will definitely comply with the direction,” he added.

A source from FSSAI said that the established brands which are few in number are filing representations as they are the ones who stock bulk printed packaging material. He also held that the small players will not be able to pay every month the charges for using existing packaging material and small players have small area of operation.

Moreover, the extension will cost the charge or the fee as directed by FSSAI in its last direction regarding use of existing stocks of the packaging material.


Food label sell-by dates get simplified in US

sell-by dates

© TreeHugger

Currently there are more than 10 different confusing date labels on packages, it’s going down to two.

For more than 40 years it’s been one of the world’s more vexing mysteries: What in heaven’s name does the date on a food label mean? Unfortunately many people think it means the safety of the food has passed, but as things stand now, it can actually mean all kinds of things.

With a parade of phrasing and zero standardization, the more than 10 different date labels currently used end up meaning little since there are so many variables at play. There are no legal definitions describing Sell By, Use By, Expires On, Best Before, Better if Used By, Best By and so on, and manufacturers use different methods to determine the dates – from lab tests to consumer satisfaction. In the end, current food label dates are really pretty random and subjective. And they lead to enormous waste as food-poisoning-shy consumers toss perfectly fine products if the date on the package has passed.

Here’s a quick visual highlighting why it’s all so confusing.

sell-by dates© Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic/Natural Resources Defense Council

Thankfully, this is about to change. In an industry-wide initiative, grocery manufacturers and retailers are coming together to “adopt standard wording on packaging about the quality and safety of products,” according to a statement by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The new initiative is being led by GAM and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) – the two major trade associations for the grocery industry.

“Our product code dating initiative is the latest example of how retailers and manufacturers are stepping up to help consumers and to reduce food waste,” says Pamela G. Bailey, GMA president and CEO.

From the chaos of 10, to two, as defined by GMA:

Best If Used By

Describes product quality, where the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume.

Use By

Applies to the few products that are highly perishable and/or have a food safety concern over time; these products should be consumed by the date listed on the package – and disposed of after that date.While the labeling is voluntary, reception by the industry has been positive and standardizing and streamlining the phrasing appears to be a welcome opportunity. Retailers and manufacturers are being asked to start phasing in the clarified terminology as soon as possible with a goal of popular adoption by the summer of next year.

“Clarifying and standardizing date label language is one of the most cost effective ways that we can reduce the 40 percent of food that goes to waste each year in the United States,” says Emily Broad Leib, Director, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.

Really a welcome change; more money in the pocket and food in the pantry, and all the while, less waste in the landfill? Sold.

Via The Washington Post

Action against misleading advertisements

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has upheld complaints about 100 misleading advertisements related to healthcare, personal care, education, food and beverages and E commerce.
The ads in healthcare category included: Dr. Batra’s Homeopathy Family Clinic, which claimed to have cured over 10 lakh patients in 142 cities for hair fall, skin and other disorders. It also offered cure for sexual problems which was in violation of the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. Similarly “ Nova Pulse IVF Clinic Private Limited” claimed to have carried out over 10,000 IVF pregnancies. The claim was unsubstantiated. Similarly the catch line of the “Richfeel Health & Beauty Pvt. Ltd”’s ad offered better hair growth just for Re.1with a visual of 1 rupee coin. However the body copy of the ad states the treatment costs as Rs. 60,000/-.
Under personal care category the Hindustan Unilever’s ads “The new Lakme Youth Infinity range keeps the contoured look of youth”, and “Percentages of women who have experienced the sculpting power of Lakme Youth Infinity Day Crème” were found to be unsubstantiated and misleading. “ Marico Ltd”s ad “Parachute Advanced apnaiye aur paiye World’s Best Hair”, was found to be misleading and exaggerated.
In education category “Swadesh Competition Classes, Jodhpur, Rajasthan”’s claim of offering Government job in 3 months was found to be unsubstantiated since there was no data to support the claim. “Orane Institute of Beauty & Wellness” made false claim of having largest network of beauty and wellness Institutes in Delhi-Punjab-Chandigarh-Gujarat-Rajasthan-Haryana-Himachal Pradesh”. It also made a false claim of “100 per cent Job Assistance” through the institute .
Under the Food and Beverages category GlaxoSmithKline’s claim that “Horlicks”, “Helps Manage Healthy Blood Pressure”, was found to be misleading by ambiguity and implication.
In E commerce category, “ Amazon India” ad found to be offering “HTC Desire 620G Dual Sim” for the discounted price of Rs.7375, whereas the actual MRP was Rs.9990. “ Cleartrip”’s advertisement was also found to be misleading. Similarly “Magic Bricks” a property site made false leadership claim. Its website did not quantify the total number of properties displayed or sold.
Also, “Bridgestone India”’s claim that its tyres were eco-friendly was exaggerated. The stunts in normal traffic shown in Bajaj Auto’s ad was in disregard to safety and sought to encourages violation of traffic rules. Similarly Idea Cellular’s ad “ek jaroori suchna! abhi call karen 53111 aur payen 50 Rs ka free recharge”, was false and misleading.Philips Appliances’s ad offering life long free service was also misleading.
In other categories, Indigo Airlines’s offer “With fares starting at just Rs.858, book till 8th November 2016 for travel between 11th January 2017 and 11th April 2017”, was false since no such flight fare exist. Besides, there was no specific information about which route or for which flight this offer was valid.
ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government agencies, including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Ministry of AYUSH. The Supreme Court of India in its recent judgement also affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism put in place for advertising content by ASCI.

Misleading advt of Ruchi Pickles – Cavin Kare (FBO)violates ASCI code- Complaint upheld

An online complaint was filed by me with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) against misleading information of Ruchi Pickles telecasted in Puthiya Thalaimurai TV.
ASCI admitted my complaint and referred to Consumer Complaints Council. CCC after investigation has upheld my complaint. The Food Business Operator – M/s Cavin Kare (P) Ltd contravened ASCI code .Advertiser has assured to follow ASCI compliance code.
ASCI final report posted here .

Dear Mr. Narayanamoorthy NV,

Subject: CCC Recommendation – 1612-C.1532  – Complaint received against the advertisement of CavinKare Pvt. Ltd- Ruchi Pickles on Puthiya Thalaimurai- Tamil’
The complaint was considered by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) at their meeting.

The Advertiser was offered an opportunity for Personal Hearing with the ASCI Secretariat. The advertiser representatives had a personal hearing via telecon, and submitted their written response. The CCC viewed the TVC and considered the Advertiser’s response. Advertiser states that the TVC nowhere compares the labelled or licensed competition products with FSSAI Logo affixed in the thinly packed attractive bottle where bad oil is filled. The TVC offers an informed choice to the consumers to prefer the Packed and Labelled Ruchi Pickle in line and compliance with the FSSAI. Advertiser provided a copy of the TVC, Copy of the FSSAI License and Times of India news article titled “Unorganized packaged foods biz sparks safety concerns”. The CCC concluded that the TVC (in Tamil), as translated in English, claims, “Don’t buy pickles that are not of good quality. All the pickles that sell at same price does not mean they are of same quality… There are many pickles in the market in which they use Lemon peels, mango that has fallen down due to heat, soda mixed chilli and bad quality oil, all put in eye catching packaging”. The claims were considered to be misleading by omission of a reference that they meant this comparison to be with the products from the “unorganized sector” and by implication as the bottle being depicted in the TVC were from a supermarket / store (i.e. organized sector). The CCC also noted in the context of the protagonist choosing the product from the shelf in super market, the visuals showing other bottles being filled in unhygienic manner unfairly denigrate the entire class/category of Pickles. The TVC contravened Chapters I.4 and IV.1(e) of the ASCI Code. The complaint was UPHELD.

The advertiser has assured compliance with the said CCC Recommendation as on February 13, 2017

Thank you for having referred this complaint to us.

Yours faithfully,

Senior Executive- Complaints Handling
The Advertising Standards Council of India

FSSAI logo can not be used to sell products or denounce rival products

With many brands using the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) logo to sell their products, notably Patanjali and Dabur, the apex regulator has issued a clarification that its logo can’t be used to sell any product, and that it is not a means for rival companies to denounce their competitors’ products.

The apex food regulator has issued an order directing all food business operators (FBOs) to refrain from using its logo to justify their products, and reiterated that all products manufactured, stored, distributed, sold and imported were required to conform to the standards prescribed by it.

FSSAI added, “It is directed that the display of FSSAI logo and name in labels and advertisements in any form should not be used to misrepresent the regulator or to suggest that it endorses any particular FBO, company, organisation or product.”

It further says that the logo is only allowed to be used as per the food safety standards packaging rules and regulations.

According to a senior official with FSSAI, “There have been numerous representations made to FSSAI with regards to such acts wherein companies were involved in justifying their products with the display of FSSAI’s name and logo and that their products were approved and endorsed by FSSAI.”

“However, it wasn’t the case, and according to the rules and regulations, putting the logo and license number on packaged food commodity is mandatory under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.”

It has been learnt that FSSAI has been working on the subject for several months.


Supreme Court recognises ASCI’s role in regulating misleading ads


Acknowledging the efforts towards self-regulation in advertising, the Supreme Court of India, in its recent judgement titled ‘Common Cause (A Regd Society) v Union of India and Ors’, affirmed and recognised the self-regulatory mechanism put in place for advertising content by The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The Supreme Court agreed that ASCI serves as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of media regulation for TV and radio programmes in India.

In its judgment, after carefully analysing the provisions of the Cable TV Act and Rules, as well as the submissions presented by the Central Government regarding the necessity of self-regulation in media, the Supreme Court concluded that the current regulatory mechanism involving both statutory and self-regulatory system serves as a sufficient media content regulator and needs no interference. The grievance redressal platform provided by self-regulatory bodies like ASCI, therefore, functions as the first step for aggrieved consumers against content in the media that might not be in line with the existing laws.

SK Swamy

SK Swamy

Commenting on the Supreme Court’s directive, SK Swamy, ASCI Chairman, said, “It’s a moment of pride and honour for ASCI to have received the highest form of recognition from the Supreme Court of India. This is extremely encouraging as this order endorses ASCI’s processes for  self-regulating advertising content and, therefore, motivates us further to strengthen our efforts towards protecting the legitimate interests of consumers from misleading, indecent, harmful and unfair advertisements.”

The Advertising Standards Council of India’s work has been recognised earlier by various government bodies like Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) towards co-regulating misleading advertisements which violate ASCI’s advertising code.

The Advertising Standards Council of India is a self-regulatory organisation for the advertising industry to promote, maintain, monitor and uphold fair, sound, ethical and healthy principles and practices of advertising for the protection of interest of consumers and the general public

Changes in Food Labelling Laws to prevent consumers getting cheated