FSSAI To Partner With ASCI To Regulate Misleading Food Ads

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will partner with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to regulate misleading food and beverage advertisements, according to the Business Standard. While the two have joined hands to monitor these ads previously, the arrangement will be made official soon. The partnership will regulate misleading ads from companies and recommend adherence to strict guidelines. 

Food And Beverage Ad Complaints

Speaking about the partnership, Pawan Agarwal, FSSAI’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We would like to raise our engagement with ASCIand we are looking at ways in which we can do it. The details are being worked out.” The arrangement will take note of all complaints received based on advertisement from brands and as well as local players in the food services sector. This initiative is a welcome sight for many as more companies have started including misleading facts which are not based on conclusive research in both print and TV mediums. According to Business Standard, between January and March of this year, food and beverage advertisements were among the top complaints received by ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council. 

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Regional And Local Brands Receive Warnings

Several companies have received warnings and recommendations to modify their ads in March, including ITC for Aashirvaad Multi-grain Atta, and Gemini Edibles and Fats for its Freedom Rice Bran Oil. Business Standard reported that several other companies such as Coca-Cola, Dabur, Cargill and Ruchi Soya, among others, have received similar warnings during the month of January and February. Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved has been under fire recently for presenting misleading facts in its advertisements, including for its Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil, which comes with a note that other edible refined oils and made using neurotoxin Hexagon solvent extraction process. According to ASCI, these statements were misleading and were not substantiated by proper research. 

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The partnership between FSSAI and ASCI will focus on regulating ads from both regional brands and smaller players in the food services sector. According to many industry experts, this could prove to be a difficult endeavour as there are several local players in the market with false claims for their products.