New regulations also prohibit the manufacturers from making tall claims that their products can cure diseases or have drug-like efficacy.
New Delhi: Food manufacturers will no longer be use misleading claims to trick people into buying their products. New regulations issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) make it mandatory for all those selling food items for dietary use, food for special medical purposes, health supplements, novel food and nutraceuticals to declare the nutritional benefits on their products. Importantly, they can claim their products have health benefits only if there is scientific evidence that these actually work. The new regulations also prohibit the manufacturers from making tall claims that their products can cure diseases or have drug-like efficacy.
The newly-framed Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplementaries, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations 2016 stresses the need for scientific scrutiny before such claims are made and labelled on products.
Under this, to claim ingredients, nutrients or nutritional value in respect of an article of food for “enhanced function” and “disease risk reduction”, the manufacturers will have to make available scientific literature, including official traditional texts, and post market data or consumer studies or cohort or retroactive studies based on the eating patterns and health benefits, epidemiological international and national data and other well documented data, that will be reviewed by the food authority before labelling.
Significantly, FSSAI prohibits implied claims like that a product will cure a certain disease, or claims of drug-like efficacy like “prevents bone fragility in post-menopausal women”.
Valid and scientific data will also be a pre-requisite for manufacturers making “heart healthy” claims. Based on the evidence, the manufacturers will also have to use a disclaimer that a certain product is “shown to be helping in keeping your heart healthy”. This will have to be used on the product when a single human intervention study shows a significant benefit. However, the word “proven” can only be used if more than one human intervention study studies or epidemiological evidence on the Indian population have been provided, such as that this product is “proven” to make you lose weight.