The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked Mondelez International India, which manufactures Bournvita, to withdraw misleading advertisements, packaging and labels following allegations that the health drink has high sugar content, PTI reported on Wednesday.
“The commission in this regard observes that the product manufactured by your company is misleading the customers through its product packaging and advertisements,” the body said in a notice dated April 21. “The commission observes that your product’s labelling, packaging, display and advertisement claims are misleading for the general public.”
The NCPCR said that it has received a complaint alleging that the company promotes Bournvita as a health drink that can enhance children’s growth and development, but it contains a high percentage of sugar and other substances that might have an impact on their health.
A controversy had erupted after a social media influencer, Revant Himatsingka, in a video alleged that the popular children’s drink has high sugar content and that its consumption could lead to diabetes and cancer. The video was widely shared on social media and garnered over 12 million views.
However, on April 13, Himatsingka deleted the video after receiving a legal notice from Mondelez India, according to The Hindu. His Twitter handle was also suspended.
On its part, the Bournvita-manufacturer refuted the claims made in the video and said that the drink is based on a scientifically designed formula made with ingredients that are approved for use.
“Every serving of 20 gm of Bournvita has 7.5 gm of added sugar, which is approximately one and a half teaspoons,” it said in a statement. “This is much less than the daily recommended intake limits of sugar for children.”
In Friday’s notice, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights told Mondelez International that its products fail to display mandatory disclosures as mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and the Consumer Protection Act, according to The Hindu.
It added that Bournvita does not “prima facie” adhere to rules regarding the display of method of preparation and number of portions to be served when it is related to the health benefits claimed.