Most of us come across flowery adjectives like ‘Natural’, ‘Pure’, ‘Authentic’ printed on food packages and labels, but, how many of us have bothered to check if these ingredients are indeed natural or pure?
Effective July 1, manufacturers cannot label their products with adjectives such as ‘natural’, ‘pure’, ‘authentic’ without obtaining a permission from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) or carry a disclaimer about them on the product. The disclaimer (not less than 3mm in size) should clearly state that ‘This is only a brand name or trade mark and doesn’t represent its true nature.’
According to a report, an FSSAI official said, “Customers are generally attracted to words like ‘genuine,’ ‘original,’ etc on food products.
When a company uses the word ‘real,’ for a food product for instance, it implies that it is the only real/original product, which is in violation of the advertisement act of FSSAI. This creates a false perception of a product for customers.”
“It is strictly prohibited under the FSSAI Act to promote any food product by undermining the products of other manufacturers. Any claim regarding the criteria, health, dietary guidance that demeans other products through advertisements is a violation of the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations,” said Pawan Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI.
As per the FSSAI’s new mandate, brands who do not adhere to the laid guidelines will have to bear fines amounting to Rs 10 lakh, come July 1.
“People are often misguided into thinking that if a packaging says it is pure, it is the best, but they fail to understand that it is only the manufacturer who is terming their own product as pure and fresh,” says Neha Rana, a store manager.
“This is a very popular marketing gimmick played by big brands to increase their sales. People need to understand that if something is packaged and is intended to be used for a month or more, it has preservatives added to it which does not make it pure.
Moreover, no one looks for any authentication and end up being misled by the flowery adjectives that are enough to sell even a mediocre product,” Neha adds.
Regha Jha, a homemaker stresses how in this day and age, finding a product that is pure is as difficult as finding a pink cow.
“Even if you are going to the local farmer to get your milk, he may milk the cow in front of you claiming that it is fresh and pure, but the cow may have been injected or fed some chemicals or hormones to increase their yield and quality of milk.
Having said this, how can someone believe on the quality of a product that travels miles to reach your home ?
It was about time that the authorities curtailed these incorrect practices and actually define what can be termed as pure, natural and authentic for the average consumer to understand.” Jha adds.
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