FSSAI and ASCI partner to crack the whip on misleading ads

ASCI will monitor over 800 newspapers, magazines and more than 400 television channels for potentially misleading ads; once identified, advertisers will be asked to comply within 10 business days


From left, Pawan Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, Benoy Roy Chowdhury, chairman, ASCI, and Shweta Purandare secretary general ASCI.
From left, Pawan Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, Benoy Roy Chowdhury, chairman, ASCI, and Shweta Purandare secretary general ASCI.

New Delhi: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) announced on Tuesday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) (http://www.ascionline.org/) to tackle the menace of misleading advertisements in the food and beverage (F&B) sector.

According to ASCI data, the F&B sector is the third largest defaulter when it comes to misleading ads after education and healthcare.

As per the agreement, ASCI will monitor more than 800 newspapers and magazines in more than 14 languages in different editions. The self-regulatory body will also monitor more than 400 television channels for potentially misleading ads. Once identified, these ads will be processed and in cases where the complaints are found to be valid, advertisers will be asked to comply within 10 business days. If compliance doesn’t come through, the issue will be escalated to the food regulator.

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI, said, “FSSAI has taken a serious view of misleading advertisements related to food and to effectively handle the same has entered into an MoU with ASCI which shall provide a paradigm shift towards handling such a scenario and shall also bring transparency and accountability with stakeholders’ participation.”

“F&B products are consumed on a daily basis, impacting the health and well-being of millions of consumers. Reining in misleading advertisements for this important sector would be a key priority for ASCI,” said its chairman Benoy Roychowdhury.

Currently, FSSAI receives cases of misleading advertisements through the Grievances Against Misleading Ads (GAMA) portal (http://gama.gov.in/Default.aspx) which was launched by the Department of Consumer Affairs in March 2015.

The portal has received 21 cases so far; FSSAI claims to have disposed of six, while the remaining are in various stages of scrutiny/disposal.

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