Authorities are continuing to crack down on so-called immunity boosting products that have flooded the market ever since the Covid-19 outbreak as medical experts warned people not to believe claims that they provide full protection against the virus.
While the clampdown started in March, India’s food regulator has started tightening rules on more recent products brandishing the immunity mantra — whether it’s corona fighter khakhra, haldi and chyawanprash flavoured ice-creams, immuno bread or even biryani.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is looking into the veracity of claims by makers of such products and will take action accordingly, CEO Arun Singhal told.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is working with the government to ensure that ads with misleading claims of Covid protection are withdrawn.
Already under the scanner is chyawanprash ice cream launched by a south Indian company. The ASCI is working with the ministry of ayush and has directed companies to withdraw products. Among them is Modern Foods. It asked Siyaram Textiles and Arihant Mattress to withdraw their anti-virus claims.
Last week, Modern Foods pulled its immuno bread. Nevertheless, restaurant chain Biryani Blues still showcases its ‘immunity booster’ supermeals on its website and on social media. Biryani Blues co-founder Raymond Andrews said, “Biryani contains turmeric and certain spices which are known to be natural immunity boosters. We are highlighting that in our communication and there are no other unsubstantiated claims.”
An ASCI spokesperson said the regulator picked over 50 ads for products claiming Covid-19 cures in April and notified the advertisers to withdraw them within a week.