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Govt Directs E-Commerce Platforms to Remove Bournvita from ‘Healthy Drinks’ Category

bournvita

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued a crucial advisory to e-commerce companies, instructing them to remove all drinks and beverages, including Bournvita, from the category of ‘health drinks’ on their portals and platforms. This move comes as a significant development in the ongoing debate over the classification of certain beverages as “healthy.”

Background

Earlier this month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had already urged e-commerce websites not to include dairy, cereal, or malt-based beverages under the labels of ‘health drink’ or ‘energy drink’. The FSSAI’s rationale was that the term ‘health drink’ lacks a precise definition within India’s food laws, while ‘energy drinks’ are specifically categorized as flavored water-based beverages.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Investigation

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) conducted an inquiry under Section 14 of the CPCR Act, 2005. Their conclusion was clear: there is no “health drink” defined under the FSS Act 2006, its rules, or regulations, as submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd. In light of this finding, the ministry issued a notification advising all e-commerce companies to remove drink/beverages, including Bournvita, from the category of “Health Drinks” on their sites and platforms1.

Consumer Protection and Misleading Terminology

The government’s directive emphasizes the importance of accurate labeling. Using incorrect terms can mislead consumers, leading them to make choices based on false assumptions about a product’s health benefits. By removing Bournvita and similar beverages from the ‘healthy drinks’ category, the authorities aim to protect consumers and promote transparency in the e-commerce space.

Industry Impact

This decision has implications for brands like Bournvita and others that have marketed their products as health drinks. The move underscores the need for companies to adhere to precise terminology and avoid misleading consumers. It also highlights the role of regulatory bodies in safeguarding public health and ensuring fair practices in the marketplace.

In summary, the government’s directive to e-commerce platforms serves as a reminder that accurate labeling matters. As consumers increasingly seek healthy options, transparency and clarity about product classifications become essential. The removal of Bournvita from the ‘healthy drinks’ category reflects a commitment to consumer protection and informed choices.

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