Health Drink in India

Health Drink in India


Why in the news? 

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recently instructed e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and BigBasket to remove products like Bournvita, Horlicks, and Protinex from the health drinks category due to undefined standards and definitions under India’s food laws.

This decision follows the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which said that there is no “health drink defined under the FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations as submitted by FSSAl & Mondelez India”. “NCPCR, a statutory body constituted under Section (3) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, after its inquiry under Section 14 of CPCR Act, 2005, concluded that there is no health drink defined under FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations as submitted by FSSAl and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd.” The FSSAI also instructed e-commerce portals earlier this month not to label diary- or malt-based beverages as ‘health drinks’.

The decision will have a “significant impact”, potentially leading to a dip in sales and heightened regulatory scrutiny. The government aims to limit the accessibility of products with high sugar content and misleading health claims, particularly those targeted at children.

Health Drinks:

A health drink is formulated to provide specific health benefits beyond basic hydration. These drinks typically contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanical extracts, proteins, and other nutrients supporting overall health and well-being.  Health drinks can come in various forms, including powders, concentrates, ready-to-drink liquids, or diluted or prepared mixes before consumption.

Health food drinks in India are primarily malt-based milk drinks that act as taste enhancers and offer nutritional benefits. For years, such mixes have been sold to kids and adults, making health food drinks an over $1-billion category. Some health drinks offer benefits such as:

    • Nutritional Support: Health drinks may be fortified with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may be lacking in one’s diet, helping to fill nutritional gaps and promote overall health. Fruit and vegetable juices are a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and are widely consumed for health benefits.
    • Malted Drinks: Malted drinks are popular as nutritious beverages for children and adults. They are often fortified with vitamins and minerals and may contain malted barley, milk powder, cocoa, and other ingredients.
    • Energy Boost: Some health drinks contain ingredients like caffeine, taurine, or B vitamins that can provide a quick energy boost, increase alertness, and combat fatigue. However, they may also contain high levels of sugar and artificial additives.
    • Hydration: Some health drinks are designed to help maintain proper hydration levels by replenishing electrolytes lost through sweating during physical activity or illness.
    • Immune Support: Health drinks fortified with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and botanical extracts are believed to strengthen the immune system and help the body fight off infections and illness. 
    • Protein Shakes: Protein shakes are popular among fitness enthusiasts and individuals looking to increase their protein intake for muscle building, weight management, or general health. 

About the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005:

The Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, is legislation enacted by the Government of India to establish commissions at the national and state levels to protect and promote children’s rights. The Act provides for establishing the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) at the national level and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) in each state and union territory. The commission began operation a year later, in March 2007.  The primary functions of the NCPCR include:

    1. Monitoring and implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other related laws and policies.
    2. Inquiring into complaints regarding child rights violations and taking appropriate action.
    3. Conducting research, studies, and advocacy on issues related to child rights.
    4. Advising the government on policy and legislative measures for the protection and welfare of children.
    5. Promoting public awareness and understanding of child rights issues.

The commissions have the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. They can summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses, examine them on oath, require the discovery and production of documents, and issue commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.

The NCPCR and SCPCRs comprise a chairperson and six members appointed by the central or state government. The members are chosen based on their expertise and experience in child rights areas. Shri Priyank Kanoongo is currently the chairperson of the NCPCR. The commissions submit annual and special reports to the government, highlighting the status of child rights in the country or state and making recommendations for improvement.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. It was created under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, consolidating various acts and orders that have hitherto handled food-related issues in various Ministries and Departments.

FSSAI is responsible for setting standards for food products and regulating their production, storage, distribution, sale, and import to ensure they meet the safety and quality standards laid down by the authority. It aims to promote public health by ensuring the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. Some key functions include: 

  • Framing of regulations to lay down the standards and guidelines for food safety.
  • Setting up of food laboratories for testing and analysis.
  • Providing scientific advice and technical support to the government.
  • Monitoring and enforcing food safety standards across the food industry.
  • Licensing and registration of food businesses.


Reclassifying certain beverages on e-commerce websites marks a commendable move towards upholding consumer rights and well-being. This initiative fosters healthier choices among consumers and underlines a shared commitment to improving societal health. The concerted effort to adjust how these drinks are presented and marketed online reflects a growing awareness of the impact of such products on consumer health, promoting a more informed and health-conscious society.


Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 17th April 2024


Prelims Practice Question:

Q. Consider the following statements about the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):

  1.  FSSAI comes under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  2. It is a statutory body that provides a licence to the food business.
  3. The president of India appoints the Chairman of FSSAI.

How many of the above statements are correct?

A. Only one

B. Only two

C. All three

D. None of the above


Mains Practice Questions:

Q.1. How do the marketing strategies of health drinks align with the ethical responsibility to accurately inform consumers about potential health benefits and risks?

Q.2. Analyze the ethical considerations in formulating and promoting healthy drinks targeting children and adolescents. How does this practice impact consumer behaviour and trust? 

Q.3. Reflect on the ethical responsibility of health professionals in recommending or endorsing healthy drinks. What guidelines should be established to govern such endorsements? 

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