IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018

9th May, 2023 Health

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • The Advertisement Monitoring Committee at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) flagged 32 fresh cases of food business operators (FBOs) making misleading claims and advertisements.
  • They were found to be in contravention of the Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018.
  • As per the regulator, the cumulative count of such offenses has shot up to 170 in the last six months.

Misleading Advertisements

  • An advertisement is said to be deceptive if it misleads people, changes reality, and influences consumer buying behaviour.
  • In most jurisdictions, advertising regulations make it illegal to use false or misleading advertising.
  • It is illegal to misrepresent the quality of any product or its related specifications related to its Composition, manufacture, price, or place of origin.

Misleading Advertisements observed recently in the Food Advertising Ecosystem

Observations by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI):

  • Food advertising has been a fairly violative sector.
  • Close to 788 ads that we processed against food advertising, about 299 are related to (non-disclosure by) food influencers. So, we still have about 490-odd ads where the content of what was being said in the ad was found to be misleading.

Regulations for tackling misleading ads and claims

  • There are varied regulations to combat misleading advertisements and claims, some are broad, while others are product specific.

Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018

  • For example, FSSAI uses the Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018 which specifically deal with food (and related products).
  • FSSAI seeks that the advertisements and claims be “truthful, unambiguous, meaningful, not misleading and help consumers to comprehend the information provided”. Claims must be scientifically substantiated by validated methods of characterising or quantifying the ingredient or substance that is the basis for the claim.

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

  • Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)’s regulations cover goods, products and services.

Cable Television Network Rules, 1994

  • The Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 stipulate that advertisements must not draw inferences that it has “some special or miraculous or supernatural property or quality, which is difficult of being proved.”

Food Safety and Standards Act

  • Product claims suggesting suitability for prevention, alleviation, treatment or cure of a disease, disorder or particular psychological condition is prohibited unless specifically permitted under the regulations of the FSS Act, 2006.

Product Definitions

‘Natural’ Product

  • A food product can be referred to as ‘natural’ if it is a single food derived from a recognised natural source and has nothing added to it. It should only have been processed to render it suitable for human consumption. The packaging too must be done sans chemicals and preservatives.
  • Composite foods, a mixture of plant and processed constituents, cannot be called ‘natural’, instead, they can say ‘made from natural ingredients’.

Fresh Product

  • ‘Fresh’ can be used for products which are not processed in any manner other than washing, peeling, chilling, trimming, cutting or irradiation by ionizing radiation not exceeding 1 kGy or any other processing such that it remains safe for consumption with the basic characteristics unaltered.
  • Food irradiation is a physical process that utilises a controlled amount of radiant energy to achieve effects like sprouting, delay in ripening, and killing of insects/pests, parasites and spoilage microorganisms.
  • The regulations forbid the ‘fresh’ reference if the processing endeavours to achieve an extension in the shelf-life of the product (usually achieved through medium-dose applications for meat).
  • Those with additives (or subject to any other supply chain process) may instead use ‘freshly frozen’, ‘fresh frozen’, or ‘frozen from fresh’ to contextualise that it was quickly frozen while fresh.

‘Pure’ and ‘original’

  • ‘Pure’ is to be used for single-ingredient foods to which nothing has been added and which are devoid of all avoidable contamination, while unavoidable contaminations are within prescribed controls.
  • Compound foods cannot be described as ‘pure’ but can be referred to as ‘made with pure ingredients’ if they meet the mentioned criteria.
  • ‘Original’ is used to describe food products made to a formulation, with a traceable origin that has remained unchanged over time. They do not contain replacements for any major ingredients. It may similarly be used to describe a unique process which has remained essentially unchanged over time, although the product may be mass-produced.

 ‘Nutritional claims’

  • Nutritional claims may either be about the specific contents of a product or comparisons with some other foodstuff.
  • Claims of equivalence such as “contains the same of (nutrient) as a (food)” or “as much (nutrient) as a (food)” may be used in the labelling provided that the amount of nutrient in the foodstuff is enough for it be claimed as a similar ‘source’ of the nutrient as the reference food; in other words, it provides equivalent nutritional value as the reference food.

Detailed Provisions under Food Safety and Standards (Advertisements & Claims) Regulations, 2018:



Q.  What do you understand by the term Misleading Advertisement? What are the Regulations for tackling misleading ads and claims in India?