Had thought of writing this earlier as well but yesterday’s news of Superme Court’s direction to Food Safety & Standards authority made me write this now http://bit.ly/hmCzE . I remember we used to play cricket on the streets. When a team bats first one / two member of the team will be the umpire as the other team has to field. And we all know how faithful the umpire’s would be. The only consoling part in that was both the team had a chance to have their turns of doing the referral part. The point of including agents from food industry in the scientific panels in fact looked very similar to the way we used to appoint the umpire!. It’s glad news that our esteemed SC brought this up.
I have been quite observing the advertisement industry over a period of time, I get to see tons of new advertisements basically targeting the minds of children and parents, repetitively arguing on health and nutrition and emphasizing their product fulfill / is the solution to anyone’s need!. We have earlier seen a company makes a food product and the other company produces another one as a competition to this and they advertise both are the best and so on… but now a day’s the same company makes multiple food products and educates us on nutrition and health and that too at the end states that this has been certified by Indian Medical Association, Indian Doctor’s Council. As per these advertisement and the doctors recommendations at the end of the advertisement, my basic mind analyzes and feels that a child between the age of 4 and 8 can survive with 2 glasses of complain / horlicks / boost / _________ [fill in the drink which you likeJ] and 2 biscuits made by HLL / ITC / P&G / Britannia / __________ [fill in your favorite company] as they contain all the essential proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutritions.
This is a serious threat!, where they produce false information [false certified information to be precise]. Children after watching these advertisements start to endorse a brand over a period of time. [I’d argue that we should not let children watch all these, but how many of the parents take care of that] Most of the food products don’t reveal their product information at all and seriously there are no ways in our country to access those. I have never understood what does permitted colors, permitted favors or permitted edible oil means?. We can still go ahead and say that we trust these companies make food products for the benefit of improving children health and nutrition, but none of their histories add values to it!. We’ve heard stories of violation of act on every possible industry.
There used to be a chapter of lesson on our school books on food adulteration, which some where helped us to understand the hidden logics of making profit. We used to [at least I] be aware and catch if any of our food being adulterated by local vendors because they packed things in front of us. Now there is no ways for me or you to know how things are made. Now all we know is two glasses of milk is equivalent to one packet of milk bikis. Thanda matlab coca cola… and so on!...
Overall what I could gather is during my childhood days, most of the food products were a luxury and over a period of time these have now being advertised as a need!. All I could now gather is a statement of a friend in her status “Why would anyone advertise a product which is a need!”. With the SC’s decision on suggesting an umpire who doesn’t belong to the same team which is playing, we could just hope that the regulations will be not just benefiting the multi nationals!.