The Nestle logo is seen during the opening of the 151st Annual General Meeting of Nestle in Lausanne, Switzerland April 12, 2018.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

The Consumer Affairs Ministry on Friday said it has asked the food safety regulator FSSAI to investigate the composition of Nestle’s Cerelac baby cereals sold in India, amid a global report that claimed the company was adding higher sugar content in the product.

“We have written to the FSSAI to take cognizance of the report on Nestle’s baby product,” Consumer Affairs Secretary and the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) chief Nidhi Khare told PTI.

Asserting that high sugar in baby products raises serious concerns about the potential implications for the health and safety of children in our country, the Secretary said, “the health and wellbeing of our citizens, especially infants and young children, is of paramount importance, and any deviation from safety standards could lead to serious health concerns.” In light of these reports, Ms. Khare said, “the FSSAI has been requested to initiate an appropriate action into the practices of Nestle company regarding the composition of Nestle Cerelac baby cereals sold in India”.

NCPCR too seeks probe

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also taken note of the report and issued a notice to the FSSAI.

According to findings by the Swiss NGO, Public Eye and International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Nestle sold baby products with higher sugar content in less developed South Asian countries including India, Africa and Latin American nations as compared to markets in Europe.

Never compromised on compliance: Nestle India

Meanwhile on Thursday, Nestle India had said it never compromises on compliance and it has reduced added sugar in baby food products in India by over 30 per cent depending on variants over the past five years.

“Reduction of added sugars is a priority for Nestle India. Over the past 5 years, we have already reduced added sugars up to 30 per cent, depending on the variant, ” the company spokesperson had said.

Stressing that compliance is an essential characteristic of Nestle India, the spokesperson said, “We will never compromise on that. We also ensure that our products manufactured in India are in full and strict compliance with CODEX standards (a commission established by WHO and FAO) and local specifications (as required) pertaining to the requirements of all nutrients including added sugars.” According to the report, Nestle’s wheat-based product, Cerelac for six-month-old babies is sold without any added sugars in the UK and Germany but 15 Cerelac products analysed from India contained 2.7 grams of added sugar per serving on average.

The sugar content was declared on the packaging in India, the report said.

The highest sugar content in the product was 6 grams in Thailand. In the Philippines, sugar content was found to be 7.3 grams in five out of eight samples tested and the information was not even declared on the packaging, according to the report.

Source link