Whenever you buy Ghee, how do you know that it is pure or un-adulterated? By reading the description written on it, right?
Writing “Pure” on packaged ghee is illegal. Aren’t they making a fool out of us?
This blog encourages manufacturers, retailers or producers to adopt transparent labeling practices “and” to inform consumers about its legal aspect and what they can do if they have been sold any food product of false labeling.
Table of Contents
- They cannot write “pure” on packaged Ghee
- Is packaged ‘Pure Desi Ghee’ really Pure?
- Attractive labeling of food products
- What Regulations and Provisions of FSSAI in using the word ‘Pure’ for any food product?
- Procedure for launching prosecution against such unfair practices?
- Penalty for such offences
Indian consumers have a very high demand for pure desi ghee because it is very beneficial to one’s health. In the market, we find various types of brands selling ghee which are labeled as 100% Pure Ghee, Yellow Cow’s Ghee, White Pure Ghee, Yellow Natural Pure Ghee, and many more. But it is hard to know which one is actually pure Ghee.
Often times manufacturers hit headlines for the highly adulterated ghee they manufacture and sell. They use milk of other animals, vegetable oil, and other chemicals also and sell this adulterated ghee claiming as pure ghee.In 2017,it was found that India’s second-largest and fast-growing company Patanjali which earned a lot of profits by selling cow ghee was actually not cow ghee. It was made of white butter primarily and yellow acid color was mixed to it to make it appealing to the eyes.
Considering the above stated scenarios it not only becomes our right but also responsibility to make sure we comprehensively go through the labeling of ghee packs available in stores.
Consumers are generally attracted to words like pure, natural, organic, real, original, etc. but it creates false perception of a product for consumers. FSSAI has made it mandatory for brands to procure permission to use such words.
Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 provides all the general principles related to every declaration which is required to be made and how it is to be made on any kind of food product.
If a company is using such words, synonyms or even words that means fresh, natural, pure, etc. in their brand name they will have to clarify by a disclaimer not less than 3mm in size stating that “This is only a brand name or trademark and does not represent its true nature”. 
Claims containing adjectives such as natural, fresh, pure, original, traditional, authentic, genuine, real, etc. can only be used in accordance to the conditions of the Schedule V of Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulation, 2018 for the food product and any person published advertisement or claim not complying this regulation shall be penalized as per Section 53 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) finalizes regulations to establish the fairness of the claims and advertisements made by the food production companies to protect consumer interests.
On the usage of such words, the Schedule V of Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulation, 2018 has specified some conditions. According to this, the word “pure” can only be used for single-ingredient food products that have not been added anything and are free from contamination. A compound product can be described as “made with pure ingredients” if its ingredients are not pure its brand name shall not include this word.
As per the Section 23 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, no person can manufacture, sell or distribute any packaged food product which is not labeled as prescribed by the regulations otherwise he shall be liable for offence under this Act.
There are Designated Officer and Food Safety Officer appointed in each district who are in charge of food safety administration in that area to investigate complaints made in respect of the contravention of this Act, and when they deem fit as per the gravity of the offence refer for further trial to a Court of ordinary jurisdiction as well as to the Special Court in case the offence is punishable with imprisonment exceeding three years.
A person as a consumer himself can file a complaint against the violator under Consumer Protection Act and Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA). Complaints can also be filed on the online portal run by FSSAI. You may simply visit here to raise your concern.
Chapter IX of this Act contains various Sections stating penalty and punishment of different offences contravention of the Act.
A person selling any food product which is not of the nature or quality demanded shall be liable for the penalty extended to 5 lakh rupees and any person who publishes advertisement or label food articles with false description to mislead the consumer about the nature and quality of that article shall be liable to the penalty extended to 10 lakh rupees.
The above discussed laws are to protect consumers’ interest and to prohibit false labeling but every person should follow them. It’s a manufacturer’s or seller’s responsibility not to mislead consumers and if it happens then it is the duty of the consumer to complain.
Edited by Dhvani Shah
- Kamal Gandhi, Neelam Upadhyay, Ashok D. Aghav, Vivek Sharma and Darshan Lal, Detection of adulteration of ghee (clarified milk fat) with palmolein and sheep body fat using Reichert-Meissl (RM) value coupled with solvent fractionation technique Kamal, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263810936_Detection_of_tallow_adulteration_in, last accessed on 25-4-2020. ↑
- Priyanka Pathak Narain, Is Patanjali’s Desi Cow Ghee Even Cow Ghee? – The Caravanhttps://caravanmagazine.in/vantage/patanjalis-desi-cow-ghee-even-cow-ghee, last accessed on 25-04-2020. ↑
- Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018, Section 4(7). ↑
- Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulation, 2018, Section 9. ↑
- Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulation, 2018, Section 13. ↑
- Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Section 27. ↑
- Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Section 42. ↑
- Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,Section 50. ↑
- Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Section 53. ↑