FSSAI Examining Charges Against Nestle On Adding Sugar In Baby Foods: Govt Sources

    Inam Ansari
    April18/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    FSSAI Examining Charges Against Nestle

    New Delhi: The centre has taken cognizance of the charges made against multi-national food company, Nestle of adding sugar to infant food products in India.
    The investigation done by Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organisation reveals that despite stringent guidelines by the World Health Organization's (WHO) banning added sugars in baby food products, Nestle's baby food product Cerelac has been found to contain an average of nearly 3 grams of sugar per serving in India.
    ANI has learnt from government sources that India's food regulator "FSSAI is examining the report - will be placed before the scientific panel"
    Nestle responding to ANI queries said, "We believe in the nutritional quality of our products for early childhood and prioritize using high-quality ingredients. Over the past 5 years, Nestle India has reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant, in our infant cereals portfolio (milk cereal based complementary food). We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce the level of added sugars without compromising on quality, safety and taste."
    The report, however, says Nestle has violated WHO guidelines against adding honey or sugar in baby food products not only in India but also in many Asian, African and Latin American countries.
    The report says that out of the 15 Indian Cerelac products tested, laboratory analyses revealed that each serving of cereal contained more than 2.7 gm of added sugar. While Nestle's labelling highlights the nutrients, added sugar is not as transparently displayed.
    The report further finds that Nestle was not following the WHO guidelines in poor countries, but was seemingly favouring higher-income countries. "Cerelac wheat-based cereals for six-month-old babies sold by Nestle in Germany and the United Kingdom have no added sugar, while the same product contains over 5 gm per serving in Ethiopia and 6 gm in Thailand," the study said.
    A recent WHO study found that over 11 per cent of Indians are diabetic and 35.5 per cent suffer from hypertension. WHO study warns that obesity has reached "epidemic proportions" in low- and middle-income countries and is accelerating the rise of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
    Increased consumption of ultra-processed foods high in sugar, is said to be one of the main causes of rising obesity.
    The investigation has examined 115 Nestle products across markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and revealed that 108 of them contained added sugar. —ANI