Nestle faces scrutiny from FSSAI

Nestle has once again got into an unhealthy food controversy.

Everyone would remember the maggi noodle controversy that Nestle was subjected to in 2015. It then took more than a year for Nestle to navigate the troubled waters.

Again in 2021, the Company got a scare. This time an internal memo got leaked wherein the company said that 60 per cent of its food and drinks portfolio — barring categories such as pet food, baby formula and coffee — do not meet the recognised definition of health. It also acknowledged the fact that some of its food products will “never be healthy”. This time though it never really faced any significant controversy.

Now in 2024, the Company is facing questions about it’s baby food items. It’s being claimed that Nestle adds sugar to infant milk sold in less affluent nations including India but not in its primary markets like Europe or the UK. The revelation came to light when “Public Eye,” a Swiss investigative organization, and IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) dispatched samples of the company’s baby food items marketed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to a Belgian laboratory for examination.

When confronted with the results, Nigel Rollins, a scientist at WHO, conveyed to “Public Eye” and IBFAN: ‘A double standard exists here that cannot be rationalized.’

Source: Economic Times

Nestle’s response

Nestle India spokesperson said, “Compliance is an essential characteristic of Nestle India and 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 all nutrients including added sugars. Reduction of added sugars is a priority for Nestle India. Over the past 5 years, we have already reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant. We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce the level of added sugars, without compromising on nutrition, quality, safety, and taste. Nestle India is committed to delivering the best nutrition to our consumers, which we have been doing for over 100 years and would always maintain highest standards of Nutrition, Quality and Safety in our products.”

The response above clearly doesn’t deny the allegations.

What next ?

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has initiated an inquiry into the controversy and has vowed to take stringent action against the brand, if found guilty. As part of the investigative process, a committee will be formed to delve into the details of the case.

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