E-commerce sites told to classify food items correctly

The term ‘health drink’ is not defined under FSS Act or rules; FSSAI says ‘proprietary foods’ which are dairy-based, cereal-based, and malt-based beverage mixes cannot be sold as health or energy drinks

April 02, 2024 10:43 pm | Updated April 04, 2024 12:46 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday directed all e-commerce food business operators (FBOs) to ensure the appropriate categorisation of the food products being sold on their websites.

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In a written communication, the Authority noted instances of licensed “proprietary foods” which are dairy-based, cereal-based, and malt-based beverage mixes being sold on e-commerce websites under the category of health or energy drinks.

“The FSSAI has clarified that the term ‘Health Drink’ is not defined or standardized anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or rules/regulations made thereunder. Therefore, FSSAI has advised all e-commerce FBOs to promptly rectify this misclassification by removing or de-linking such drinks or beverages from the category of ‘Health Drinks / Energy Drinks’ on their websites and place such products in the appropriate category as provided under the extant law,” the regulator said.

‘Misleading information’

‘Proprietary foods’ are items of food that are not standardised under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation or the Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food, and Novel Food) Regulations, but which still use standardised ingredients.

The FSSAI further said that the term ‘energy drinks’ is permitted to be used only for products which have been licensed under that specific food category system. “This corrective action aims to enhance clarity and transparency regarding the nature and functional properties of the products, ensuring that consumers can make well-informed choices without encountering misleading information,” it added.

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