The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued a notice to confectionary major Mondelez following the Bournvita row asking the company to review and withdraw all misleading advertisements, packaging and labels.
The NCPCR is a statutory body constituted under the Section 3 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 to protect child rights and other related matters in the country.
NCPCR’s notice comes weeks after a video by social media influencer Revant Himatsinghka calling high sugar content in Bournvita went viral.
In a notice dated April 21, addressed to Deepak Iyer, President, Mondelez International India, the NCPCR said it has taken cognizance of a complaint that Bournvita itself as a health powder/power drink, which on consumption promotes child’s growth & development. It added that it has been brought to its notice that the product contains high percentage of sugar and contents, substances or mixtures or formulas that may be harmful to the health of children.
NCPCR said it observed that this product (Bournvita)’s packaging, display and advertisements are misleading to the general public. “Further. your, product’s labelling and packaging also fails to acknowledge the correct information regarding the contents used in the product – Bournvita,” the notice stated.
In addition to directing Mondelez to withdraw all claims, it has also asked the company to send a detailed explanation/report to apprise the Commission on this matter within 7 days on receiving the notice.
Mondelez has declined to comment on the NCPCR notice.
In an earlier statement to CNBC-TV18 regarding the controversy, Bournvita said that its formulation is scientifically crafted by nutritionists and food scientists and that all claims are verified and transparent and all ingredients have regulatory approvals.
Bournvita said in a statement every serve of 20 gm of Bournvita has 7.5 grams of added sugar, much less than daily recommended intake limits of sugar for children.
While the influencer took down the video – which saw over 12 million views -- after receiving a legal notice from Mondelez, the topic took a life of its own on social media sparking a debate over the health benefits of these malt-based drinks. While there is no official standard currently for content of items like Sugar, fats, etc., medical professionals advise that a child not consume more than 24 grams of added sugar in a day.