Nestle In Trouble?: FSSAI To Probe Into Allegations Of Sugar Addition In Baby Food Products

Nestle In Trouble?: FSSAI To Probe Into Allegations Of Sugar Addition In Baby Food Products

Recently, Nestle came into the limelight after reports that its baby-food brands sold in India contain higher levels of added sugar compared to similar products available in developed nations.

G R MukeshUpdated: Friday, April 19, 2024, 01:29 PM IST
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Nestle In Trouble?: FSSAI To Probe Into Allegations Of Sugar Addition In Baby Food Products | File/ Representative image

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has initiated an investigation into allegations against Nestle regarding the addition of sugar in its baby food products.

Nestle adding sugar to the baby food sold in India

Recently, Nestle, once again came into the limelight after reports that its baby-food brands sold in India contain higher levels of added sugar compared to similar products available in developed nations like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland.

In the investigation, conducted jointly by Public Eye, a Swiss organization, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), has brought that there is a differences in the formulation of Nestle's products across various regions.

Major findings of the report

According to the findings, Nestle's infant food product Cerelac in India contains nearly 3 grams of added sugar per serving.

Moreover, in the report, it added that laboratory tests reveal that Indian Cerelac products contain over 2.7 grams of added sugar per serving.

Furthermore, Nestle's labelling does not transparently display added sugar content. There is a discrepancy in sugar content between products sold in higher-income countries compared to lower-income countries.

As per the report, investigation of 115 Nestle products across Asia, Africa, and Latin America finds that 108 contain added sugar.

Nestle's prior controversies

However, this is not the first time that the company is facing such controversy. Back in 2015, a controversy erupted on Nestle India's Maggi products when tests showed high levels of lead and MSG (monosodium glutamate) in some samples of Maggi instant noodles. This, at that time, led to a nationwide ban on the product and widespread public outcry. The company faced legal action, including a temporary ban on the sale of Maggi noodles.

However, after subsequent tests by Indian authorities and other countries found Maggi noodles safe for consumption, leading to the lifting of the ban. Nestle India, later then the resumed production and sales after making changes to its manufacturing process and labeling.

Nestle's response

However, on Thursday Nestle India responded to the recent controversy surrounding the sugar content in its Cerelac baby food products with a clarification.

According to ANI's report, the company stated, "We believe in the nutritional quality of our products for early childhood and prioritize using high-quality ingredients. Over the past 5 years, Nestle India has reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant, in our infant cereals portfolio (milk cereal based complementary food). We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce the level of added sugars without compromising on quality, safety and taste."

Nestle India shares

After the recent controversy surrounding Nestle's baby products, the company's shares experienced a sharp decline. At 3:30 pm IST on Thursday, they closed at Rs 2,471.00, down by 2.95 percent.

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