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Want to buy & eat healthy, don't rely on labels

Want to buy & eat healthy, don't rely on labels

A new study by center for science and environment(CSE) reveals how your popular brands

like snacks, health drinks, noodles, etc. don't tell you what you must know.

A brand of health drink that claims it has 34 vital nutrients, 100% milk protein and more protein faster

growth but it contains sugar as high as 38% of recommended daily upper limit per serving.

CSE Study says: Info on Packets of Many Brands Misleads customers.

The Label on a pack may not always give you the authentic information on whether the

food is good for your health. For example, a popular health drink which claims pro health vitamins,

but notably the label highlights that it has 71grams of sugar per 100 grams. This sugar content is

actually 57% of the recommended daily intake limit.

According to the report, the labeling requirements in India are extremely lax.

The Food Safety Regulations, 2011 made it mandatory to mention the quantity of sugar along

with protein, carbohydrate and fat content.

Amit Khurana (food safety and toxins programme, CSE) states that we have not accounted for the fact

that a person may consume it more than once and add sugar to the drink.

The advertisements are equally misleading . For example - a brand of digestive biscuits,

which claims to have less refined flour (maida) was, in fact, found to contain more maida than

whole wheat, according to Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) . More such complains

sourced by CSE suggest several brands make claims in advertisements that have no substance.

Similar is the case for oil & its brands. An oil brand that claims to contain antioxidant powder

and suggests it is the healthiest choice for your heart professedly violated the norms laid down by

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Moreover, ASCI is a self-regulatory body,

which does not have the power to impose punitive measures due to which violators may repeat the same offences.

A product may be fat free, but it may be very high on sugar. Consumers don't tend to notice

that aspect of the ingredients on the labels, said Ishi Khosla, nutritionist.

A complete ban on celebrity endorsement of food that is high in salt, sugar & facts is strictly

recommended by CSE researchers. Sunita Narain (Director General, CSE) says: The government is

considering amending the Consumer Protection Act to provide for a five-year jail terms or a penalty of

Rs 50 lakh to hold celebrities responsible for false and misleading claims. But the same amendment says

that there will be no liability if precautions are taken before deciding to endorse a product.

In other words, this amendment amounts to nothing.

Aug. 16, 2017 Jyoti