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India will crack down on misleading food ads

By Ankush Chibber , 19-Apr-2012
Last updated on 19-Apr-2012 at 18:26 GMT

India is set to crack down on misleading food ads with a countrywide regime
India is set to crack down on misleading food ads with a countrywide regime

The Indian government has set up a high level panel to investigate and recommend regulations to food advertisers in a 'serious' crackdown on the menace of misleading food advertisements.

KV Thomas, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, said today that the central government is considering setting up an “inter-ministerial group that can suggest suitable measures to curb misleading advertisements.”

This continues to be a serious problem across the country, despite several legislations like Food Safety and Standards Act, he said.

Thomas noted that advertisements for liquor, pan masala and food products he dubbed as 'harmful' to the public, continue to find a place on television channels despite the ban imposed by the government.

Countrywide enforcement needed

Although different ministries are enforcing the laws there is a need for a comprehensive legal regime to prohibit misleading on a countrywide basis, he said. 
According to Thomas, the Consumer Affairs Ministry which is framing a new law to curb misleading advertisements, has started a consultation with stakeholders across India. The new law will enable consumers to seek legal action against false claims made by companies in their advertisement, he detailed. 

“A final view on strengthening legal controls will be taken after we obtain views from stakeholders and different ministries. We believe that both self-regulation and legal controls should work in synergy to curb these ads,” he said.

Pointing out that it would be impossible to set all encompassing rules in era of Internet and television, Thomas said, “both types of regulation should be applied with the ultimate aim of reaching the balance.”

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