The FSSAI has issued a notification on 8 November, 2017 calling for suggestions, views and comments from stakeholders on the draft Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements and Claims) Regulations, 2017. Suggestions must reach the FSSAI within 60 days of the above mentioned date.
The regulation commences with the definition and FSSAI has given detailed definitions for the various types of within general claims which means any “representation which is printed, oral, audio or visual and states, suggests, or implies that a food has particular qualities relating to its origin, nutritional properties, nature, processing, composition or otherwise.” Other types of claims defined are
Reduction of disease claims
- Health claim
- Nutrition claim
- Nutrient content claim
- Nutrient comparative claim
- Non-addition claim
- Nutrient function claim
- Other function claim
- Recommended daily allowance
Besides claims the regulation defines advertisement which “means any audio or visual publicity, representation or pronouncement made by means of any light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes through any notice, circular, label, wrapper, or other documents.” Under the general terms for advertisement FSSAI has also
- defined digital interactive media
- marketing communications
- Every FBO and marketer while advertising and publishing or disseminating marketing communication meant for promotion of sale of any article of food including labelling claims shall comply with The Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements and Claims) Regulations, 2017
- Advertisements and claims in respect of food meant for infants shall be in accordance with the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992 as amended in 2003 (IMS Act)
Claims must be truthful, unambiguous, meaningful, not misleading and help consumers to comprehend the information provided.
- Claims must not
- encourage or condone excess consumption of a particular food
- state, suggest or imply that a balanced and varied diet cannot provide appropriate quantities of nutrients as required by the body
- specify the number of servings of the food per day for the claimed benefit
- Where the claim benefit is related to or dependent on the method of preparation of the food the same shall be provided on the label.
- If a food has certain nutritional or health attributes shall be scientifically substantiated by validated methods of quantifying the ingredient or substance that is the basis for the claim
- Where the meaning of a trade mark, brand name or fancy name appearing in the labelling, presentation or advertising of a food is such that it may imply a nutrition or health claim, all the general & specific conditions, prohibitions and restrictions as laid down in these Regulations shall be applicable.
- All disclaimers related to a claim shall appear in the same field of vision.
- No claim or promotion of sale, supply, use and consumption of articles of foods shall be made using FSSAI logo and license number.
- Advertisements shall also not undermine the importance of healthy lifestyles
- Advertisements for food or beverages shall not be promoted or portrayed as a meal replacement.
- Claims in advertisements shall not be inconsistent with information on the label or packaging of the food or beverage.
- Every declaration which is required to be made on advertisements under these regulations shall be conspicuous, legible and prominent.
- Nutrition claims made may be:
- Nutrient content claim
- Nutrient comparative claim
- Mentions of the following are NOT Nutrition claims
- list of ingredients
- nutrients that are mandatory part of nutrition labelling
- Quantitative or qualitative declaration of certain nutrients or ingredients on the label if required by any other national legislation.
- All nutrient content claims nature must be as per Schedule I provided flexibility in the wording of a nutrition claim may be made as per Schedule II or the use of any other word if they are in accordance with conditions specified in Schedule I and the meaning of the claim is not altered.
- For Nutrient comparative claim comparisons must be made between different versions of the same or similar food is made. Identifiable and relative difference of the claimed parameter between the compared foods is
- at least 25% in the energy value or nutrient content and a minimum absolute difference equivalent to the figure defined as “low” or as a “source” in Schedule I, for claims about energy or macronutrients and sodium respectively
- at least 10% of RDA, for claims about micronutrients other than sodium
- In addition, where a comparative claim is made, the identity of the food(s) being compared and the amount of difference expressed as a percentage, fraction or an absolute amount shall be given in close proximity to the claim.
Non-addition of sugars claims can be made when
- No sugars of any type have been added to the food (Examples: sucrose, glucose, honey, molasses, corn syrup, etc.)
- The food contains no ingredients that contain sugars as an ingredient (jams, jellies, sweetened chocolate, sweetened fruit pieces, etc.)
- The food contains no ingredients containing sugars that substitute for added sugars (non-reconstituted concentrated fruit juice, dried fruit paste, etc.)
- The sugars content of the food itself has not been increased above the amount contributed by the ingredients by some other means (the use of enzymes to hydrolyse starches to release sugars).
Non-Addition of Sodium Salts Claims and “no added salt”, may be made when the food contains no
- added sodium salts, including but not limited to sodium chloride, sodium tripolyphosphate
- ingredients that contain added sodium salts, including but not limited to sauces, pickles, pepperoni, soya sauce, salted fish, fish sauce
- ingredients that contain sodium salts that are used to substitute for added salt
Additional Conditions and/or disclaimer statements may be used with non-addition claims to assist consumer understanding of the claims within countries.
Disclaimer statements should appear in close proximity to, on the same side and in the same prominence as the claim.
Health Claims Compliance Conditions and Declarations.
(a) The health claim must consist of two parts
- Information on the physiological role of the nutrient or substance or an acceptable diet- health relationship
- And also information on the composition of the product relevant to the physiological role of the nutrient or substance or the accepted diet-health relationship.
(b) If the claimed benefit is attributed to a constituent in the food, for which an RDA value is established, the food in question shall be:
- a source of or high in the constituent, in accordance with conditions specified in Schedule I, in the case where increased consumption is recommended
- low in, reduced in or free of the constituent, in accordance with conditions specified in Schedule I, in the case where reduced consumption is recommended
(c) A statement of the quantity of a nutrient or a substance that is the subject of the claim, per serve and 100g or 100ml of the food.
(d) Where applicable mention of the target group or where a certain contraindications exist the mention of vulnerable groups.
(e) The use of the food to obtain the claimed benefit in the context of the diet and other lifestyle factors where appropriate.
(f) The maximum safe intake of the food or it’s constituent, if necessary.
No reduction of disease risk claims shall be made that is not in accordance with the conditions specified in Schedule III.
Food articles that are fortified as per Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2017 may make health claims as provided in Schedule IV.
Where a claimed benefit is attributed directly to the product or used on labels, advertisements or any other means as a mode of communication to the consumer,
- it shall be based on statistically significant results from appropriate scientific research study(s)
- OR a well-designed, randomized double blind (Unless technically not feasible) clinical study(s), conducted by or under guidance of established research institutions, in line with the principles of GCP (Good Clinical Practices) and Peer Reviewed OR published in a Peer reviewed reputed scientific journal with an impact factor of not less than 1 at the time of submission of paper.
Claims related to ICMR Dietary Guidelines or Healthy Diets
- The label must carry a statement relating the food to the pattern of eating described
- Foods, which are described as part of a healthy diet, balanced diet, shall not be based on selective consideration of one or more aspects of the food. They shall also satisfy the criteria for other major nutrients related to the dietary guidelines, based on scientific evidence.
- Foods shall not be described as “healthy” or be represented in a manner that implies that a food in and of itself will impart health.
- A claim may be made where a food is by its nature high or low or free of a specific nutrient provided the name of the nutrient or substance is preceded by the words ‘natural / naturally’ in the claim statement. Explanation: “a naturally low (naming a nutrient or substance) food” or “a naturally (naming the nutrient or the substance) free food”.
- Claims such as ‘natural’, ‘fresh’, ‘pure’, ‘original’, ‘traditional’, ‘premium’, ‘Finest’, ‘Best’, ‘Authentic’, ‘Genuine’, ‘Real’ etc. when used, shall be in accordance with conditions laid down in Schedule V.
- Claims containing words or phrases like “home-made”, “home cooked” etc. which may give an erroneous impression to the consumer shall not be used.
- No claims shall be made which refer to the suitability of the food for use in the prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of a disease, disorder of particular physiological condition.
- There shall not appear in the label of any package, containing food for sale the words “recommended by the medical/nutrition/health professionals” or any words which imply or suggest that the food is recommended, prescribed, or approved by medical practitioners or approved for medical purpose.
- No product shall claim the term ‘added nutrients’ if such nutrients have been added merely to compensate the nutrients lost or removed during processing of the food.
- Foods for Special dietary uses or foods for special medical purposes shall not carry a claim unless specifically permitted under any other regulations
- Claims which could give rise to doubt or suspicion about the safety of similar food or which could arouse fear shall not be made.
- No advertisements and/or claims for articles of foods shall be made by any food business operator that undermines the products of any other manufacturer for the purpose of promoting their products or influencing consumer behaviour.
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
FBOs or Marketer may seek prior approval from the FSSAI for nutrition and health claims /claims other than those that are defined and for which criteria are laid out under these regulations or any other regulations made under FSS Act,
Procedure for approval of claims
- The Food Business Operator may submit an application along with applicable fees as prescribed by FSSAI consisting of the following information:
- Hard/soft copy of the claim to be made
- Name of ingredient, nutrient or substance on the basis of which the claim is made
- Validated Method of analysis of ingredient or substance for which the claim to be made
- Scientific information or materials substantiating the claim
- How claim is clear and meaningful and helps consumers to comprehend the information
- Any other useful information.
- The Food Authority or an agency/panel appointed by FSSAI will carry out preliminary scrutiny of the application submitted by FBOs/marketers for approval of their claims.
- On scrutiny, deficiencies, if any, shall be informed to applicant within 30 days from the date of receipt of application. The applicant shall provide the information required by the Food Authority within 15 days of the receipt of the communication, failing which the application shall be rejected without any further reference. The fees paid by the applicant for recognition shall not be refunded under any circumstances.
- After scrutiny, the Food Authority may pass a speaking order either for approval or rejection of concerned claims. The Food Authority may also suggest an amendment for the concerned claim. The amended claim may be submitted within 30 days for reconsideration
- In case of rejection, the Food Business Operator/marketer shall not use that claim in their advertising and marketing communication in respect of articles of food offered for sale or for promotion of sale, supply, use or consumption.
Redressal of non-compliance
Any person who advertises or is a party to the publication of any advertisement or claim(s) not complying with this regulation shall be penalised as per section 53 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Procedure for redressal of non-compliance
- The misleading claims shall be referred to the Food Authority or may be the suomoto activity of the Authority. The Food Authority itself or may appoint an agency or panel to analyse the misleading claims
- In case the agency or Food Authority requires information from the FBO/ marketer, the Food Authority will seek clarification failing which action will be initiated as per regulation
- The FBO/marketer shall submit the information sought within 15 days from the issue of the letter
- After scrutiny of the submitted information, the Officer nominated by the Authority will pass a speaking order either for acceptance or rejection of submitted clarification on misleading claims.
- The Food Authority may also suggest an improvement for the concerned claim. The improved claim shall be intimated to the Food Authority within 15 days after issuance of letter.
If the advertisement is found to be in violation of these regulations, the Food Authority by an order may require the concerned FBO/advertiser to issue corrective advertisement (s) through the same medium for neutralizing the effect of misleading advertisement.
Schedule I of this regulation outlines the NUTRITION CLAIMS and how they are to be displayed on labels. The nutrient component like energy, fat, cholesterol etc. along with claim for low or free for that nutrient component and the amount of nutrient component the food must have for fulfilling the conditions of low or free are given in tabular form.
Schedule II list the names of the synonyms which may be used for claims defined in these regulations example for free: zero, no, without etc. may be used and for low: little, few, etc. Reduced/ less may be replaced by lower, fewer, for increased/ more you can also claim higher.
Schedule III contains HEALTH CLAIMS: REDUCTION OF DISEASE RISK
The table contains three columns. The first contains the name of the nutrient/ food health relationship like calcium or Vitamin D. The conditions for the claim can be made only if the food is a source of calcium and vitamin D. The claim statement for calcium has been given Adequate Calcium (or Calcium and Vitamin D) intake throughout life, in a balanced diet are essential for bone health and to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Similarly, nutrient/ food health relationship, conditions for claim and claim statement have been provided for other substances also like sodium and hypertension etc.
Schedule IV outlines Health Claims for Fortified Food Articles. Here the name of the nutrient is provided along with what kind of health claims can be made. Example vitamin A – Claim will say helps in preventing night blindness.
Schedule V provides guidelines on Use of certain words or phrases. Example: where the word ‘natural’ can be used in claims.
This article contains only a summary of the draft Advertisement and Claims Regulation. The full regulation may be read at FSSAI.GOV.IN