Tuesday, September 22, 2009


It is rather late for the Food Authority in India to realize that market is flooded with innumerable products with dubious health claims and according to media reports steps are being 'envisaged' to bring out comprehensive 'guidelines' for the industry to follow when health claims are made. These guidelines, if and when they come into force are supposed to be applicable to imported foods also which at present are having a roaring time without being strictly monitored for their quality and safety.

"From oils that protect your heart by reducing bad cholesterol to juices that fix your iron intake or curd that lines your stomach with good bacteria — the marketplace is flooded with nutraceutical or functional products. But consumers are not quite biting into the health hard-sell, say food and pharmaceutical industry representatives. The credibility of unsubstantiated claims stands in the way of the nutraceutical industry tapping the market potential".

With literacy level phenomenally low, a country like India is ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous manufacturers of many food products with false or exaggerated claims. Nutrition and health sciences, as interpreted by experts with differing perceptions provide sufficient scope for dishonest trade practices and one can hope that the new awareness that is dawning on the food safety agency may yet save the situation for the Indian consumer. In stead of improving the economic 'health' of the industry through questionable claims, new policy must ensure that such foods really improve the health of the consumer!

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