Irresponsible advertisement: FSSAI notice to McDonald's

McDonald's tried to cash on a section of the youngsters' perceived disliking of vegetables like “ghiya and tori” (bottle gourd and ridge gourd) to promote their burger, puff and fries that were to be served with cola beverages in a combo pack. Photo/Reuters

Indian food safety authority has served a notice to US food major McDonald's on what the regulator said is an 'irresponsible advertisement'.

In an insertion issued earlier this month, the fast food company tried to cash on a section of the youngsters' perceived disliking of vegetables like “ghiya and tori” (bottle gourd and ridge gourd) to promote their burger, puff and fries that were to be served with cola beverages in a combo pack.

“A full page advertisement by McDonald's in newspapers said, 'Stuck with Ghiya-Tori Again? Make the 1+1 Combo you love'. The Central licensing authority and FSSAI’s designated officer at New Delhi and Mumbai have taken cognizance of this and issued show cause notices for contravening the provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 as to why further action should not be initiated against McDonald's for this,” says a press statement issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The notice was issued earlier this week and the company had been given 7-10 days of time to respond to the charges, FSSAI sources said.

“The food companies must desist from issuing advertisements or publicity materials which are in violation of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and rules and regulations made thereunder. FSSAI is committed to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for all citizens of the country through various means like education, awareness building and regulatory enforcement,” FSSAI Chief Executive Officer Pawan Agarwal said in the statement.

“Tendency of the food companies to disparage freshly cooked food and vegetables that are healthier is a matter of grave concern. Such advertisements are against national efforts for promoting healthier and right eating habits, especially in the children from a young age, with the aim to ensure safe and wholesome food for them so that the kids feel better, grow better and learn better,” says the press statement.

Last year the regulator brought out the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018 to point out that advertisements shouldn't undermine the importance of healthy lifestyles, and also shall not portray their food and beverages as a meal replacement.

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