The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) is going to prohibit experts such as doctors and nutritionists from appearing in advertisements of food products to explain their qualities and health benefits for marketing purposes. The organisation will also not allow any advertisement of a product that undermines other competitive products.
The BFSA is drafting the "Safe Food (Advertising) Regulations, 2021" to control advertising of food products in the country. It requires doctors, nutritionists and other specialists to stop promoting any food products.
At the same time, no advertisement can be made based on physical and mental disabilities or physical attributes such as size, colour, etc.
According to the draft regulation, no particular product is to be recommended or promoted in an advertisement by any individuals like doctors, specialists, or organisations. No product can also be promoted as a healer of diseases to make it more attractive.
Safe Food Authority officials said many companies make advertisements claiming their products to be the best compared to other competing products. In these advertisements, other products are considered inferior.
They said to stop this unequal competition, a provision is being made in the regulation not to advertise any product by claiming its superiority over other competing products as this could mislead the consumer.
A section of the regulation provides guidelines on children's participation in advertisements.
It says children should not be used in any scene of condemnation, conflict, quarrel and risk. According to this section, the participation of children in such scenes of advertisements is prohibited as it could harm their social and cultural values.
At present, various types of adjectives including natural, fresh, authentic, traditional, home-made, genuine are added to advertisements. But from now on, these words have to be used carefully
BFSA officials said at present, various types of adjectives including natural, fresh, authentic, traditional, home-made, genuine are added to advertisements. But from now on, these words have to be used carefully.
The term "natural" can only be used in the advertisement of a food product if it is directly produced naturally and does not contain any kind of mixture, and is not processed. However, sufficient evidence has to be presented in favour of such claims.
Manzoor Morshed Ahmed, a member of the BFSA, told The Business Standard, "The rules are being drafted to provide food advertising guidelines. The rules are directed to stop unequal competition with other products, demeaning others, and all activities that may deceive the customer."
The draft regulation also has instructions on the advertisement of imported food products. Advertisements for imported food products may not contain words or expressions that may indicate that the quality of the product is superior to that of the locally produced products.
In the case of such food products, besides the name and full address of the manufacturer, the full name and address of the re-wrapper and the marketer should be mentioned.
The draft contains rules on how to present the overall packaging of a food product, including its advertising, promotion, expiration date, ingredients, claims, processing, and nutrition
The draft regulation is also going to impose restrictions on the advertisement of breast milk supplements for children and processed milk. The draft contains rules on how to present the overall packaging of a food product, including its advertising, promotion, expiration date, ingredients, claims, processing, and nutrition.
The draft regulation has been made available on the website of the BFSA for the opinion of stakeholders. Officials said it will be finalised after further additions or subtractions.
Ayub Hossain, a BFSA consultant, told TBS, "We have sought feedback on the draft. It will be finalised in consultation with all stakeholders."
He said work is underway to bring advertisements into a policy framework to protect consumers from fraud and to enable them to buy products knowing the actual information.
Violation of these rules will be considered a violation of sections 41 and 42 of the Safe Food Act 2013 and will be punished accordingly.