stop packing toys with food products

FSSAI asks states & UTs to stop practice of packing toys with food products

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory asking all States and Union Territories to discourage the practice of packing of toys/gifts with food products for infants and small children as there are chances of contamination and risk of accidental ingestion.

It has become a common practice for manufacturers to attract sales by adding small toys/gifts inside food packets. Several brands of chips and even chocolates come along with small toys/ gifts inside the packet. Some brands of chips packets even have tattoo stickers inside.

The advisory issued on July 22 by Shobhit Jain, FSSAI executive director (compliance division), said, “Considering the safety of the public at large, there is a need to discourage food businesses from providing any toy or gift item inside the food packages especially in case of food which is likely to be ingested directly by an infant or a small child. Such promotional free toys or gift items may be provided separately or packed separately.”

“Also, it is desirable that the colour, texture and nature of toy or gift item should not at all resemble the food product inside food package,” the advisory said.

As per section 3(1) zz(xi) of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 “unsafe food” means an article of food whose nature, substance or quality is so affected as to render it injurious to health by virtue of its being misbranded or sub-standard or food containing extraneous matter.

Quoting this provision under the Act, the advisory said: “Commissioner of Food Safety of all States/UTs are requested to make efforts for generating awareness amongst all stakeholders to discourage the practice of packing of such toys/gifts with food products for infants and small children.”

Karnataka Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey, who is also the Food Safety Commissioner, told The Hindu on Tuesday that Food Safety Officers in the State have been directed to ensure that the advisory is implemented effectively.

Pointing out that the advisory has been rightly issued, he said it was taken up for discussion at a recent meeting. “We are keen on popularising this. Manufacturers can offer free toys or gifts, but they should not be packed with the food product. Also, they should be not of similar shape or colour of the food product as children may swallow the tiny toys.”

Shashidhar Buggi, former Director of the State-run Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), said he had treated several children who had accidentally swallowed foreign objects. “If an object (small toy or any other gift) is added inside a packet of chips or fryums, the chances of the child swallowing it accidentally are high,” he said.

Source: The Hindu

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