With an aim to regulate the law relating to advertising and unfair trade practices in the food sector, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, 2006, has released a draft regulation on ''Guidelines - Code of Self Regulation in Food Advertisement'' for the food industry.
Currently there is no legal framework regulating advertising standards in India. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has drafted and implemented a Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising (ASCI Code) in India. However, the Code does not have specific guidelines for the food and beverage segment.
The Act places restrictions on advertisement and prohibits unfair trade practices. It lays down general principles like prohibition of the advertisement of any food which is misleading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of the Act, the rules and regulations made there under.
It restricts a person from engaging in any unfair trade practice for promoting his product or adopt any unfair or deceptive practice including the practice of making any statement, orally or in writing or by visible representation falsely representing that the foods are of a particular standard, quality, quantity or grade-composition.
The FSSAI Act lays down that any person who whether by himself or by any other person on his behalf manufactures for sale or stores or sells or distributes or imports any article of food for human consumption which is misbranded, shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to three lakh rupees.
Also section (53) prescribes a penalty to a person who publishes, or is a party to the publication of an advertisement, which falsely describes any food or is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of any food or gives false guarantee. The penalty may extend up to ten lakh rupees.