Centre to bring curbs on tall claims over health supplements

New Delhi: Manufacturers of health supplements will not be able to make promises such as cure for diseases or disabilities from now on, with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India initiating measures to ban such unreasonable claims. The Authority has issued a draft notification introducing restrictions on advertisements and other publicity for these products.

The new proposals suggest severe restrictions on manufacture, marketing and consumption of health supplements, dietary food, medicinal food, probiotics and prebiotics.

According to the proposed rules, products could display the announcement that they would improve general health, if that is backed by scientific evidence. However, all such claims have to be approved by the authorities, for which a specific fee also has to be submitted.

Under the new rules, these products could be given to children in the age group of 2-5 years only based on the advice of a doctor or instructions from a dietitian. Similarly, food supplements for infants aged less than two years would be under the purview of Food Safety and Standards (Foods for Infant Nutrition) Regulations, 2020.

From now on, all additives in these products should be permitted items. Foodstuffs such as spices, essential oils and those included in the Indian Food Composition Table are allowed. Any other ingredient to be added should have been used safely in India for at least 15 years and the permission for the purpose has to be obtained from the Food Safety Authority.

The matter of labels too has been taken up under the new proposals. Apart from the regular information such as brand name, the label also has to mention the category of the product, the age group of the intended customers, dosage and possible side-effects, says the Authority. Details regarding the ingredients, composition and amount of nutrients have to be given on the package or as a pamphlet.

Health supplements

These products should be taken along with regular food and are not intended for treatment purposes. They could be sold only in tablet, capsule or syrup forms.


Such items are supposed to improve general health.

Dietary foods

These are packed products which can regulate food intake. People depending on dietary foods include pregnant women, diabetes patients and sportspersons.

Under the new proposals, the package of these products should mention that they can be consumed by pregnant and lactating women and children aged less than five years only based on the advice of a doctor.

Moreover, no steroid should be an ingredient of these products.

Medicinal purpose foods

This category of products also should be consumed only after consulting a doctor and are intended to provide nutrients to people facing specific health issues, suffering from certain diseases or experiencing some disabilities.

Probiotics and prebiotics

They are supplements which help maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. While probiotics spur the growth of these bacteria, prebiotics regulates the digestive process and boost immunity.

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