How to file a complaint against false claims about food products at FSSAI

Overview: With multinational companies making headway with globalization, there are numerous instances where we come across advertisements where false claims with respect to the weight, nutritional value, ingredients etc of the item for consumption are made in order to induce sales.  Such unfair trade practices have a detrimental effect on the consumer’s health and they may face health hazards because of such claims.

 

Instances include products making claims of weight loss on consumption, healthy heart, and faster growth for children, adulteration, packaging, expired food products, the absence of labeling, an insect found in food product etc.

 

Purpose: To give consumers a voice against corporate giants when they are found to be making false/unauthorized claims to sell their product. Under the Indian law, an aggrieved person can approach the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a specialized body set up to address the grievances of consumers regarding food products.   

 

Areas of Application of Law: Provisions of Food Safety Standards Act, 2006

 

Process: Below is the step by step process for filing a complaint against unfair trade practices relating to food products:

 

  1. To begin with engage a lawyer who will understand your situation as an aggrieved person/company and how the alleged false claims hold consequences for you as a consumer or competitor.
  2. The lawyer will send a legal notice to the person/company running the advertisement making false claims about the product in which he will bring to their attention its negative effect on the complainant and make a claim for damages in money.
  3. On failure to receive a reply, either written or through mail, the complainant through his lawyer can approach the FSSAI through a complaint.
  4. A complaint at FSSAI can be made either through a toll free no- 1800112100, through Whatsapp or SMS on 9868686868, through email at compliance@fssai.gov.in.
  5. One can also go through the “Food Safety Concern,” on its website to lodge complaints related to packed food or even food outlets including roadside eateries.
  6. Alternatively, the complainant can address his complain directly to the FSSAI office.
  7. It will consist of details of the grievance such as where the food product was purchased from, what it claimed and its detrimental effect including health risks on the complainant upon consumption.
  8. On receipt of a complaint, the FSSAI, depending on the nature of the complaint will refer them to the specific Food Business Operators (FBO) for appropriate action within defined timeframe.
  9. The parties will then be given a chance to explain their stand for which they will be given a personal hearing.
  10. FSSAI will also independently conduct tests, to verify the claims made regarding the food product in question. It will also determine if the food product is being sold in accordance with the regulatory framework.
  11. If the complaint is upheld, FSSAI will issue directions which may include restraining the sale of the product immediately or within a certain time frame, making modification in the food product depending on deficiencies found and/or payment of compensation to the complainant- depending on the loss caused.
  12. An appeal from the decision of the FSSAI can be brought at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). An appeal from that decision will be made at the Supreme Court.

 

Documents required to be submitted, if any: The complainant must share the following documents with the lawyer:

 

1. Details/Address of the place where he purchased the food product from (name of store/shop/locality).

2. Pictures taken showing the defect (packaging/expiry date)

3. Medical reports concluding an ingredient of the food product posing to be a health risk (in cases of adulteration).

 

Punishment/Expected Relief: Depending on facts and circumstances of each case, FSSAI will issue directions which may include restraining the sale of the product immediately or within a certain time frame, making modification of the food product depending on deficiencies found and/or payment of compensation to the complainant.

 

Landmark Judgments: 1. The food safety regulator directed Nestle India to immediately withdraw all nine variants of its Maggi noodles from the market, calling them “unsafe, hazardous and unfit” for human consumption due to high level of monosodium glutamate in the taste maker:  Nestle India Ltd. v FSSAI (https://indiankanoon.org/doc/66718388/).

 

2. The Delhi high court allowed for the sale of an assortment of Guliyan belgian chocolates after the petitioner (importer) cured labeling defects, in accordance with the FSSAI ruling: United Distributors v UOI (https://indiankanoon.org/doc/35761458/).

Legal Process Outsourcing This Document

User Comments

Champalal parjapati   16 Sep 2020 11:44am
Fssai no.30200516005305570.18.5.2020aply. Panding....at payment issu.4000by online cas. Agent.no.+918377806807 Please help.me fast reply
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Sanjay Mishra   5 Sep 2020 3:08pm
I want to apply for registration in fssai for one year.the food inspector demanded me 2000 rs for issue from Dept. Actual cost is only 100rs. Without registration i cant run my business. what shoul i do now.
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Rahul Singh   28 Jul 2020 10:46pm
Hello sir/ma'am i have order forever aloe Vera gel but having some personal health issue so i want to test the aloe gel can you please help or share laboratory detail's where i can send sample for tasting. After drink this having issue of pimple ulcer in mouth and the upline and other team member saying it's healing crisis
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