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National child rights body asks Mondelez to withdraw all ‘misleading’ Bournvita ads

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has taken into cognisance the complaint against Bournvita for promoting itself as a ‘health powder or drink’

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked Mondelez to review and withdraw all ‘misleading’ advertisements of its product - Bournvita.

As per the letter issued by NCPCR Chairperson, dated April 21, to Mondelez India president- the commission has taken cognisance of the issue related to high sugar content which is being discussed on social media.

“It has been brough to the notice of the commission that your product contains high percentage of sugar and contents/substances/mixtures/formula which may cause harmful impact to the health of the children,” the letter read.

The Commission observed that the product misleads the consumers through its packaging and advertisement.

“The Commission observes that your product’s labeling, packaging, display and advertisement claims are misleading for the general public. Further your product’s labelling and packaging also fails to acknowledge the correct information regarding the contents used in the product- Bournvita,” it further read.

It also points out that Cadbury Bournvita ‘fails to display mandatory disclosures in line with the guidelines and regulations of Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) and under the Consumer Protection Act’.

As per FSSAI’s Chapter (6)(14)(2) which deals with Food Safety Standards (Labeling and Display), “The Indian Nutrition Rating (INR) system rates the overall nutritional profile for packaged food by assigning it a rating from ½ star (least healthy) to 5 stars (healthiest).”

Under the same, it is also mentioned that FSSAI also proposes display of red-colour coding for the products that have added sugar content value more than 10% of total energy (kcal) provided by 100g/100ml of the product.

Moreover, the Commission also pointed out that Bournvita seems to have bypassed the threshold with use of labels “Maltodextrin” and “Liquid Glucose”, which need to be mentioned under “added sugar” as per FSSAI Regulations 2020, Chapter 2, clause 3(a); as these additives are polysaccharides.

Prima facie, Bournita doesn’t seem to be adhering to the aforementioned FSSAI Guidelines, as per NCPCR.

“Your product also fails to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority, i.e- Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 and prima facie observed to be a violation of 8- Children targeted advertisements- (o) claim any health or nutritional claims or benefits without being adequately and scientifically substantiated by a recognised body,” the letter mentioned.

In lieu of the aforementioned violations, the NCPCR, exercising its powers under Section 13 of CPCR Act, 2005, has urged Mondelez to review and withdraw all misleading ads, packaging and labels and send them a detailed explanation or report within seven days.

Apart from this, nutrition body- Nutrition Advocacy for Public Interest (NAPi) has also approached and filed a formal complaint against Bournvita with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, about its advertisements violating the provision of Consumer Protection Act, 2019, as per Revant Himatsingka, aka foodpharmer. 

As reported earlier on, Himatsingka, a Health Coach and Nutritionist, had been forced to take down a video in which he had called out Cadbury Bournvita over the issue of high sugar content and more issues.

His video calling out Cadbury Bournvita for not standing by the ‘product features’ and its claimed benefits had gone viral on the internet and received a whopping 12 million views. 

However, he soon received a legal notice from the brand, forcing it to take it down. He had then taken to Instagram to apologise to Cadbury for “making the video” and mentioned, “I have decided to take down the video across all platforms after receiving a legal notice from one of India’s biggest law firms on 13 April.”

“I apologise to Cadbury for making the video. I did not plan or intend to infringe any trademark or defame any company nor do I have the interest or resources to participate in any court cases and I request MNCs to not take this forward legally,” he wrote.

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