FSSA – HC Allahabad – M/s Foods Fats & Fertilizers Ltd Vs State of UP – Misleading statement – Misbranded case

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD, LUCKNOW BENCH
 
Court No. - 13
  
Case :- U/S 482/378/407 No. - 3284 of 2012
 

 
Applicant :- M/S Foods Fats And Fertilizers Ltd., Andhra Pradesh And Ors.
 
Opposite Party :- The State Of U.P And Ors.
 
Counsel for Applicant :- Yashovardhan Swarup,Sushil Arora
 
Counsel for Opposite Party :- Govt. Advocate
 

 
Hon'ble Dinesh Kumar Singh,J.

The present petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has been filed against the show cause notice dated 30.5.2012 issued by the Additional District Magistrate (East) under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Allegations in the show cause notice are that the manufacturer has declared on the label of the sealed packet of the sample as “Ab butter ko bhul jaye” which is misleading statement about the actual nature of the sample. Hence the sample is misbranded.

Sri Yashovardhan Swarup, learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the declaration/claim on label does not amount to misbranding inasmuch as it has not been said that it is substitute of the butter or it is a butter derivative item. He, therefore, submits that the show cause notice is completely misconceived and it is non-est in the eyes of law and is liable to be quashed.

On the other hand, Sri V.K. Sahi, learned counsel for the respondents submits that only show cause notice has been issued and all grounds which the petitioners have taken before this Court, should be taken in reply to the show cause notice and the learned Additional District Magistrate (East) will consider the reply to the show cause notice and, if he finds that there is no misbranding as alleged, he will drop the proceedings.

Proceedings have been initiated by issuing a show cause notice. Whether there is misbranding as alleged or not, should be first decided by the designated authority after considering the reply to the show cause notice.

In view thereof, the petitioners are given liberty to file reply to the show cause notice within 30 days from today along with a certified copy of this order and the the Additional District Magistrate (East) is directed to consider the show cause notice in accordance with law after giving opportunity of hearing to the petitioners and, then decide whether to proceed further or not in the matter. If it is found that there is no misbranding, the proceedings are to be dropped by the Additional District Magistrate (East).

With the aforesaid direction and observation, the petition stands disposed of finally.

Order Date :- 20.11.2019 

FSSAI slaps notice to McDonalad’s for disparaging advterisement

FSSAI slapped a show cause notice on Hard Castle and Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd.
McDonald's had over the last weekend carried advertisements in newspapers seeking to get traffic at its outlets. (Photo: Pixabay)

 McDonald’s had over the last weekend carried advertisements in newspapers seeking to get traffic at its outlets. (Photo: Pixabay)

New Delhi: Food regulator FSSAI has slapped a showcause notice on McDonald’s for disparaging freshly cooked food and vegetables in its advertisements to promote fast food.

FSSAI slapped a showcause notice on Hard Castle and Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd – the franchise that operates McDonald’s fastfood chain in India, seeking response on why action should not be initiated against them, a statement by the regulator said/

 

McDonald’s had over the last weekend carried advertisements in newspapers seeking to get traffic at its outlets by allegedly disparaging home cooked food and healthy vegetables.

A full page advertisement by McDonald’s in newspapers had said, “Stuck with Ghiya-Tori Again? Make the 1+1 Combo you love”.

“FSSAI has noted with concern incidence of irresponsible advertising by some food companies to promote sales of their own foods often considered unhealthy as substitute for healthy foods,” Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said.

Consumer alert : Parle – Fake claim quantity on pack

Consumer complaint as posted by Dev ydv On Oct-13th in Indian Consumer Complaints Forum with photo

We are buying parle-g biscuits for 14 years .since 2019 june they claim they are giving 20% extra on every 20rs 10rs parle-g but they minimize the quantity of biscuits in every pack. If they want wo reduce quantity of biscuits in pack they can as per market value and profit but parle making fool to all its consumer in the name of 20% extra. All biscuits company doing same thing including britania, priyagold, anmol, Sunfeast, ITC they are making fool and loot us they all using same strategy, claiming 10, 15, 18, 20, 25 percent extra but they are not giving

fake claim quantity on every pack

Misleading advertisements – Myth vers reality

ASCI ticks off misleading ads featuring celebrities as claims are grossly exaggerated

Ad guru Leo Burnett once said how advertising does not just circulate information, it penetrates the public mind with desires and belief. And at a time when lifestyle choices are aplenty and we seek to govern our lives with the right one, advertisements, especially those helmed by celebrities and their gone-in-60-seconds wisdom, have a profound impact. Artful lying it is, but when it is outright falsehood, there’s a problem. That’s why the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) has decided to verify tall claims made by companies in mass media campaigns and banned 106 of 334 ads for violating consumer rights and interests. Most of these campaigns were by topline brands and found to be selling mistruths concerning crucial sectors like healthcare, home appliances, personal care, housing, food and beverages and education, in short our everyday life and well-being. The ASCI said the commonest reason for pulling out ads was their unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims that exploited the consumers’ lack of knowledge. Besides, some of the products made unverifiable leadership claims, improper use of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) logo in contravention of the FSSAI advisory and labelled products organic without fact-checks. One ad claimed an endorsement by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which had supported the technology but never the product. It also came down heavily on celebrity campaigns, considering their mass popularity and impact, suggesting that each brand ambassador should, while endorsing products, at least ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are genuine. The misleading advertisements include those of Asian Paints, featuring actors Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone; Fena Superwash Powder peddled by Preity Zinta, cricketers KL Rahul and Ravichandran Ashwin; Eureka Forbes RO hawked by Madhuri Dixit; CricPlay online game by cricketer-turned politician Gautam Gambhir and housing firms ads by actress Vidya Balan.
Earlier, too, products that falsely claim doctoral research or clinically proven results had been pulled out, be it enriching clay shampoos, chemical-free hair colours or pure atta noodles, all of which have a certain ratio of concentrates and ingredients that they claim to have done away with. For example, atta noodles have maida or refined flour, too, and 100 per cent dandruff-free shampoo is never a possibility. Consumer awareness and rights are anyway not scaled up in this country and without questioning, such products are not only misleading and overrated but cheating the consumer of his expectation and right to a good and healthy life. Going by the list, most of the products prey on the consumers’ health insecurities instead of addressing them through scientific corroboration. Of course, there are consumer laws and various codes about advertisement in general to curb malpractices. And though food safety norms have made labelling with details mandatory, the same does not extend to other product categories with equal seriousness. However, the absence of a single statutory, regulatory body further aggravates the problem. But hopefully this will be taken care of by the Consumer Protection Bill 2019, which seeks to penalise deceptive advertisements. Disclaimers should run as tickers on both audio, print and video campaigns. Of course, the core of the advertising industry is based on tempting the consumer, capturing their mind space and then driving up sales. True, it is hard to expect the creators to be “conscience-oriented,” but given the social cascade of information flow, they have to be self-regulatory, considering they rule cultural sensibilities.

ASCI acts on misleading advts.- June 2019

Food and Beverage : 

1. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd (Horlicks):

The CCC observed that in the website advertisement, the advertiser’s slogan “What you eat is not what you get” is juxtaposed with the text – “Horlicks has bioavailable nutrients which get absorbed in the blood and are carried to all parts of the body”. The CCC observed that this statement by the advertiser creates an impression in the consumer’s mind that the advertiser’s product is superior to food because it is bio available. The CCC also noted that juxtaposing “clinically proven” and “bio available nutrients” with other claims made, appears to be misleading because the submitted clinical trial does not unambiguously and fully support these claims. Hence the CCC concluded that advertisers claim of Horlicks having “bioavailable” nutrients” only exaggerates the concept of bioavailability as a gimmick by juxtaposing it with the tagline of “clinically proven” without providing any adequate supporting evidence of the trial of the actual product with reference to the “bioavailability” attribute claimed by the advertiser. The claim contravened ASCI Guidelines on Advertising of Food & Beverages.

 

2. Good Brands For A Healthy Life Pvt. Ltd. (Sugar Watchers Low GI Rice):

The advertiser’s claims on their product packaging “Helps Sugar level and Weight Management” and “This keeps the entire family healthier and is suitable for diabetics”, were misleading by omission. The CCC observed that the advertised rice (BPT 5204) has a low Glycemic Index (GI). However, the CCC also noted that if this low GI rice is consumed in more than adequate quantities then the overall glycaemic load may still be high and such rice cannot be eaten by diabetics in excess. The CCC noted that this rice would be suitable for diabetics only if portion sizes are controlled as well as all other lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapy are adhered to and this rice is part of an “overall low GI diet”. Another claim “Diabetologist recommended” was not adequately substantiated. Even though the advertiser submitted few testimonials from diabetologists the CCC did not consider the sample size to be large enough to make a generic claim that the product is “Diabetologist recommended”.

3. Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. (Nutrilite Traditional Herbs Range):

The print advertisement’s claim “Certified Organic and DNA Fingerprinted herbs with the promise of Purity, Safety and Potency” was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and omission of the reference to the product containing extracts (and not whole herbs). The advertiser is not using the herbs as such in the product but is using their extracts whereas the advertisement headline presents the product range as “Nutrilite Traditional Herbs Range”. The second claim “1 Tulsi Tablet = over 100 dried organic leaves of Tulsi herb” was also not substantiated. The CCC was of the opinion that the word “herb” cannot be used synonymously with the word “extract”.

ASCI June 2019

 

ASCI pulls up misleading advertisements – May 2019 updates

1. Mondelez India Foods P. Ltd (Tang):

The television advertisement claim, “Kehte hain bacchon ko 8 glass paani peena chaihye… Mushkil hain par Tang hain na (Translated as “Children should drink eight glasses of water…Difficult but there is Tang)” was clearly insinuating that 8 glasses of Tang should be consumed. The CCC also expressed concern on the emphasis placed on using the advertiser’s product in place of water. The claim was misleading by implication and in contravention of the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Foods and Beverages. The tagline at the end of the advertisement states “Goodness of fruits and vitamins implying that the benefits offered by the product were much more than fruit taste alone. This was misleading by ambiguity and implication.

2. Tata Global Beverages Ltd (Tetley Green Tea):

The print advertisement claimed “9/10 USERS PREFER TETLEYGREEN TEA FOR AN ACTIVE LIFE”, the video advertisement uses the word “recommend” which is contrary to the print advertisement. The users (Home Testers Club survey members) were not provided with samples of other brand products to enable them to have a preference; the words “prefer” and “recommend” are misleading by implication. The use of word “Active Life” misleads one to think that use of the product alone would be sufficient to achieve an “Active Life”. Lastly, the quality of the survey conducted was found to be inadequate as there was ample reason to question fair and unbiased communication of information in the advertisement.

3. DANONE (Protinex Lite):

The product packaging claims ‘Zero sugar’ on the front while the reverse side has a disclaimer stating “Sugar refers to Sucrose”. The advertiser conceded that the product does contain sugar – as base of the product is from lactose, however, the same was not Sucrose i.e. sugar produced from sugarcane or sugar beet. In light of FSSAI regulations, it was recommended that it would more appropriate for the advertiser to mention “Zero Sucrose” in place of “Zero Sugar” to avoid being in contravention with ASCI’s Guidelines for Disclaimers.

4. Kapila Krishi Udyog Ltd. (Kapila Pashu Aahar):

The print and YouTube advertisement endorsed by Sanjay Dutt claimed that their product is “organic” was not substantiated with a copy of the product label, copy of product approval, product composition details or evidence that the product is organic nor a third party certification and found to be misleading.

Misleading ads of ayurvedic products – How ASCI tackles