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McDonalds told to display caffeine content on beverage containers

11 January 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra has ordered McDonald's food chain to stop the sale of beverages in containers without caffeine labels.

According to the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, all sweetened carbonated drinks need to be sold with a label bearing the words 'contains caffeine'. The McDonald's outlet in Kolhapur was the first to have been found not complying with the regulation.

''Consumption of caffeinated food products have adverse effects'', said FDA commissioner Harshadeep Kamble, reported. ''Those susceptible to caffeinated foods include pregnant women, lactating mothers, children and patients who have been medically advised to avoid caffeine consumption.''

''Mcdonald's representatives argued that the warnings are only to be printed on beverage cans or bottles. However, as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, every beverage container needs to carry the disclaimer,'' said Kamble. He further added that it was very essential for the consumer to know whether a particular food product contained caffeine or not.

''They are hiding facts about added caffeine from consumers and indulging in unfair trade practices to increase their sale of beverages,'' commented Kamble.

Meanwhile, instructions have been issued to all joint commissioners by the agency to inspect similar food-joints selling soft drinks to customers in unpackaged cups or glasses.

Meanwhile, DNA reported that the FDA move has been welcomed by experts. ''Caffeine is a psycho-active drug that affects the brain. It can also cross the placenta barrier, that is why pregnant women are asked to cut down on caffeine. It can have detrimental effect like increasing irritability, affect sleep patterns and can also increase heart rate and blood pressure,'' said Dr Sanjay Kalra, consultant endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital and vice president, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies, DNA reported.

Dr Kalra who favours the move said, labeling would help consumers make an informed choice.

Supporting the FDA move, Dr Kalra said that labelling would help consumers make an informed choice.

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