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‘Health Food Brands Making False Claims, Govt Must Revise Norms’

Health and nutrition organisations and consumer groups are mounting pressure on the government to clamp down on what they allege are long-standing “false and misleading claims” made by packaged food companies over the milk foods drinks category.

The latest trigger is a controversy over Mondelez’s Cadbury Bournvita, which flared up last week after social media influencer Revant Himatsingka made a video, highlighting the level of sugar in the milk food drink. The video went viral with calls like ‘#BoycottBournvita’, following which Mondelez’s law firm sent him a legal notice, leading to Himatsingka apologising and deleting the video on April 14. His Twitter account was also suspended.

Activist body Consumer Voice has written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (Fssai) and the department of consumer affairs, under the ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution, urging them to revise the regulations and labelling guidelines for the entire category.

Consumer Voice chief operating officer Ashim Sanyal told ET: “We are escalating the matter to the relevant government authorities to clamp down on so-called ‘health’ foods brands targeted at children, making false and misleading claims on their packs about being ‘healthy’ when many of them actually contain sugar well beyond the prescribed limits.”

Besides Bournvita, Hindustan Unilever’s Horlicks and Boost, Nestle’s Milo are the other big brands in the category.

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