afaqs! news bureau

Govt orders e-commerce platforms to remove Bournvita from 'Health drinks'

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry asks e-commerce firms to drop drinks including Bournvita from 'healthy drinks' section.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has released an advisory to e-commerce companies, instructing them to eliminate all beverages, including Bournvita, from the 'health drinks' category on their portals and platforms, as mentioned in a report by Moneycontrol.

"National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a statutory body constituted under section (3) of the commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 after its inquiry under Section 14 of CPCR Act, 2005, concluded that there is no "Health Drink defined under FSS Act 2006, Rules and regulations as submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd," the ministry informed in a notification.

It further added that “all e-commerce companies/portals are hereby advised to remove drink/beverages, including Bournvita from the category of "health drinks" from their sites/platforms."

Earlier this month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) instructed e-commerce platforms not to categorise dairy, cereal, or malt-based beverages as 'health drinks' or 'energy drinks'. FSSAI explained that the term 'health drink' lacks definition in Indian food laws, and 'energy drinks' are merely flavoured water-based beverages according to regulations.

The authority emphasised the potential for consumer misinterpretation and urged websites to either correct or remove such advertisements.

In April last year, social media influencer Revant Himatsingka, known as Foodpharmer, shared a video discussing Bournvita, a malt drink, alleging miscommunication regarding its nutritional content. He claimed it contained sugar, cocoa solids, color 150 degrees C (which he suggested could cause cancer), an emulsifier, and liquid glucose. Following a statement from the brand clarifying the product's nutritional value and a legal notice, Himatsingka removed the video and apologised to the brand.

Shortly after, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) directed Mondelez International India, the manufacturer of Bournvita, to assess and eliminate any 'misleading' advertisements, packaging, and labeling associated with their product.

Have news to share? Write to us