The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sent McDonald’s India a show-cause over a newspaper advertisement.
The FSSAI said of the ad in a statement: “Tendency of the food companies to disparage freshly cooked food and vegetables that are healthier is a matter of grave concern.”
The full-page ad, printed in Delhi and Mumbai, seems to ask readers if they are “stuck with ghiya tori.” It then directs their attention to McDonald’s “1+1 Combo.”
Ghiya tori is a kind of gourd — a common vegetable in northern and western India. It is also one of the less-popular vegetables when it comes to youngsters.
McDonald’s India under fire
The FSSAI has recently issued draft regulations on limiting the sale and advertisement of unhealthy food near educational institutions.
Then, in its November 22 statement, the FSSAI highlighted this when it said has “has noted with concern incidences of irresponsible advertising by some food companies to promote sales of their own foods often considered unhealthy as substitute for healthy foods.”
It then highlighted the “full-page advertisement by McDonald in newspapers.” It said: “Central licensing authority and FSSAI’s designated officer at New Delhi and Mumbai have taken cognizance of this.”
The FSSAI added that it has also issued show-cause notices to McDonald’s India for contravening India’s food laws. More specifically, McDonald’s India is accused of violating provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018.
The FSSAI has also released an image on Twitter to counter the advertisement and extol the virtues of vegetables. See the post here:
McDonald’s India responds
The show-cause notices have reportedly been sent to Hardcastle Restaurants and Connaught Plaza Restaurants.
Hardcastle Restaurants operates McDonald’s outlets in southern and western India. Connaught Plaza Restaurants looks after the northern and eastern operations for the global fast food chain.
A Telegraph India report quoted a Hardcastle spokesperson as saying: ““Hardcastle Restaurants Private operates restaurants in west and south India and the print ad in question was not issued by us. We have already written to the FSSAI clarifying the same.”