Nestle Faces Government Action Over Sugar Levels In Infant Food: Report

The Department of Consumer Affairs has demanded action against Nestle over the high sugar content in its Cerelac baby cereals sold in India, taking a firm stance on alleged malpractices.

What Happened: Government sources revealed to Business Today TV that Consumer Affairs Secretary Nidhi Khare has addressed a letter to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), stressing the critical importance of infant and child health and the potential risks of deviating from safety standards.

This action follows a report by Public Eye, which accused the FMCG giant of adding more sugar and honey to its infant milk and cereal products in developing countries like India compared to its offerings in European markets.

The report, which highlights violations of international health guidelines aimed at preventing obesity and chronic diseases, was based on a joint investigation by Public Eye and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN).

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They tested popular baby food samples from Nestle across Asia, Latin America, and Africa at a Belgian laboratory. The study examined 150 products, finding that nearly all wheat-based Cerelac cereals intended for infants from six months contained an average of 4 grams of added sugar per serving.

Testing revealed the highest sugar content in the Philippines, followed by Nigeria and Senegal. In India, 15 Cerelac products had nearly 3 grams of sugar per serving, whereas similar products in countries like Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and France had no added sugars.

In defence, Nestle India claimed it had reduced added sugars by up to 30% in its infant cereals portfolio over the past five years and reiterated its commitment to high-quality ingredients and nutritional quality for early childhood.

Price Action: Nestle India Ltd. shares were trading 1.2% lower at ₹2433.10 on Friday afternoon.

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