The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra has ordered the McDonald’s food chain to stop selling 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 saying ‘contains caffeine’. The McDonald’s outlet in Kolhapur was the first to have been found violating the regulation.
“Consumption of caffeinated food products have adverse effects”, said FDA Commissioner Harshadeep Kamble. “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 also added that it is very essential for the consumer to know whether a particular food product contains caffeine or not.
“They are hiding facts about added caffeine from consumers and indulging in unfair trade practises to increase their sale of beverages,” commented Kamble.
Meanwhile, the FDA has issued instructions to all joint commissioners to inspect similar food-joints that sell soft drinks to customers in unpackaged cups or glasses.
FDA officials said that they will inspect all malls, multiplexes, cinema halls, restaurants and bars and fast food chains to ensure printing the disclaimer on beverage containers. These would otherwise face suspension of their license.
“McDonald’s India adheres to all statutory requirements, and is in compliance with all applicable laws pertaining to mandatory food labelling. At McDonald’s India, the health, safety and well-being of our customers are paramount. We have always conformed to the highest quality and food safety standards. We will continue to do so at all times”, said a McDonald’s spokesperson.