On 17 June 2016 the FSSAI published a list regarding withdrawal or modification of misleading advertisements by Food Business Operators (FBOs) after the intervention of the FSSAI. These misleading advertisements have been withdrawn or modified from/in all sources of media.
The first name on the list is that of M/S Jivo Wellness Pvt Ltd. The misleading claim made by the firm was that their Canola Oil prevents diabetes and heart diseases and they even claimed that Fortis Hospital (C-Doc) has put their seal on these two claims. The FBO has withdrawn the entire misleading advertisement.
Chemical Resources, Maharashtra claimed that their product ‘Furocyst’ had therapeutic benefits or had a positive effect on 94% patients as it either dissolved their cysts or reduced them in size. They also claim that it was US patented and showed no side effects. The company has now modified these claims.
KC Food Products Pvt Ltd of Jammu and Kashmir claimed that their ‘Digestive biscuits’ were the best in India. They said it was India’s best digestive biscuits because they used the highest content of wheat flour as compared to similar biscuits in the market. The advertisement has been withdrawn by the FBO.
Phytotech Extracts Pvt Ltd claimed that their product ‘Proteqt’ was capable of removing morning blues after a party and the user remained fresh. They claimed it was natural and so there were no after effects of a party and so there was no dullness in the morning. The product was to be taken 10 to 15 minutes before the party and it was the ‘first time ever’. They claimed the product was enriched in flavonoids, polyphenois, tannins and Vitamin C anti oxoidants etc. The company has submitted to the FBO that they have stopped the manufacture and marketing of such a product and so no advertisement is being published presently.
According to the Food Act 2006 no food can be advertised that misleads or deceives or which contravenes the provisions of the FSS Act and the rules and regulations made under it whether orally or in writing. Advertisements cannot falsely claim that foods are of a certain standard, quality, quantity or grade composition. It cannot make a false or misleading representation about the need for or the usefulness of the product.
The FSS Act also has a provision for imposing penalty for misleading Act. Any person that falsely describes any food or misleads consumers about the nature, substance or quality of any food, or gives false guarantee can be liable for penalty up to Rs.10 lakhs.
In 2015 the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) found the advertisement of Dabur India Limited misleading. The advertisement made unsubstantiated claims that Dabur Chyawanprash gives three times more immunity which makes kids strong from within.
Presently some of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved products are under ASCI’s scanner among which is their advertisement of mustard oil. The ASCI says that the claims about Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil were unsubstantiated and misleading. The advertisement claims that most other edible refined oils and mustard oils are made using neurotoxin Hexagon solvent extraction process, as many companies mix cheap palm oil in mustard oil, to make profits at the cost of consumers’ health.
FMCG major ITC has also come under flak from ASCI because the advertisement claim that Aashirvaad Multigrain Atta is “India’s No. 1 Atta”, is misleading by ambiguity as the claim was for the mother brand Aashirvaad and not for the variant -Aashirvaad Atta with multi-grains.