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Government Orders Cadbury’s Bournvita Out of ‘Health Drinks’ Section

(NTI) : In a significant move, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued an advisory to e-commerce companies to reclassify Cadbury’s Bournvita, a product of Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd, removing it from the ‘health drinks’ category. This decision follows the findings of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) which determined that the term ‘health drink’ is not defined under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act 2006, thus prohibiting companies from marketing their products as such online.

The NCPCR, a statutory body established under the Commission of Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, conducted an inquiry and concluded that the FSS Act 2006 does not recognize ‘health drink’ as a category. Consequently, the notification dated April 10, advises all e-commerce platforms to cease listing Bournvita and similar beverages as ‘health drinks’.

The Controversy Surrounding Bournvita

The issue gained traction in April of the previous year when a social media influencer accused Bournvita of having a high sugar content, along with cocoa solids and colorants, potentially harmful to health. Although the video was removed following a legal notice from Mondelez India, the NCPCR took note of the allegations and demanded an explanation from the manufacturers.

In a proactive measure, the child rights body communicated with all states and union territories last month, ensuring that Bournvita and comparable products are not marketed as health drinks in stores and retail outlets, as reported by the Times of India.

Furthermore, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed e-commerce websites earlier this month to refrain from selling dairy, cereal, or malt-based beverages as ‘health drink’ or ‘energy drink’, marking a pivotal change in the classification of such products.

This development underscores the ongoing scrutiny and regulation of product labeling and marketing, particularly in the context of children’s health and nutrition.