Govt, FSSAI directive to eCom sites on ‘health drinks’

Beverages, including Bournvita, to be removed from health drinks category

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Govt, FSSAI directive to eCom sites on 'health drinks'

The government has asked all eCommerce companies to remove drinks and beverages, including Bournvita, from the health drinks category from their portals. The order comes days after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) directed all eCommerce food business operators (FBOs) to ensure appropriate categorization of food products being sold on their websites.

The commerce and industry ministry, in an advisory to all eCommerce companies on 10 April 2024, said, “The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a statutory body constituted under section (3) of the Commission of Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act 2005 after its inquiry under Section 14 of CRPC Act 2005, concluded that there is no ‘health drink’ defined under FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd,”

It advised all eCommerce companies and portals to remove drinks and beverages, including Bournvita, from the category of health drinks from their platforms/sites.

Earlier, FSSAI had directed all eCommerce FBOs to ensure appropriate categorization of food products. It noted instances of food products licensed under ‘proprietary food’ with the nearest categories of ‘dairy-based beverage mix’ or ‘cereal-based beverage mix’ or ‘malt-based beverage’, being sold on eCommerce websites under the category ‘health drink’, ‘energy drink’, etc.

FSSAI clarified that the term ‘health drink’ is not defined or standardized anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or its rules and regulations. It advised all e-commerce FBOs to promptly rectify this ‘misclassification’ by removing or de-linking such drinks or beverages from the category of ‘health drinks /energy drinks’ on their websites and placing them in the appropriate category.

Proprietary foods are food items not standardized in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations and Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food, and Novel Food) Regulations but use standardized ingredients.

The term – ‘Energy’ Drinks – is permitted to be used only on the products licensed under the food category system (FCS) 14.1.4.1 and 14.1.4.2 (carbonated and non-carbonated water-based flavored drinks), standardized under sub-regulation 2.10.6 (2) of Food Product Standards and Food Additives Regulations 2011 (Caffeinated Beverage).

This corrective action aims to enhance clarity and transparency regarding the nature and functional properties of the products, ensuring that consumers can make well-informed choices without encountering misleading information, FSSAI said.

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