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Remove Bournvita from category of ‘health drinks’: Govt to e-commerce

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NEW DELHI: The ministry of commerce and industry has directed e-commerce platforms to remove drinks like Bournvita and other similar products from the category of “health drink” in stores/shops.

This decision comes following the national commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR) finding that there is no specific definition for “health drink” under the FSS Act 2006, rules, and regulations as per FSSAI and Mondelez India.

The ministry notification issued on April 10 read, “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a statutory body constituted under Section (3) of the Commission of Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 after its inquiry under Section 14 of CRPC Act 2005 concluded that there is no ‘health drink’ defined under FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd.”

“In view of above all ecommerce companies/portals are hereby advised to remove drinks and beverage including Bournvita from category of health drinks from their platforms,” it added.

Earlier last month, the NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo had written to the ministry of commerce and industry on the issue and had recommended that directions may be issued to all e-commerce companies to remove drinks and beverages from the category of health drinks from their sites.

The commission had also sent a copy of this letter to the ministries of health and electronics and information technology (MeiTY) for action.

The commission had sought an action taken report by March 23. In its letters to the secretaries of the department of consumer affairs across states and UTs, NCPCR shared that it had taken cognisance of the media reports regarding “some health – powder drinks claiming to be energy drinks containing high percentage of sugar and other harmful content for health of children i.e.-

Bournvita an energy drink for children.

Earlier, the NCPCR had called upon the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to initiate action against the companies that failed to meet safety standards and guidelines and were projecting power supplements as ‘health drinks’.

Notably, as per the regulatory body, ‘health drink’ has not been defined in the country’s food laws and to project something under the same violates the rules.

The FSSAI, earlier this month, also instructed e-commerce portals against labelling diary-based or malt-based beverages as ‘health drinks’.

The controversy over the ‘unhealthy’ nature of Bournvita first arose after a YouTuber in his video slammed the powder supplement and informed that it contained excessive sugar, cocoa solids and harmful colourants that could lead to serious health hazards in children, including cancer.

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