India Attacks US Fast-Food Brands in New Study

A new recommendation from Indian NGO wants government regulations for food labels

On top of more bad press this week, fast-food and junk food brands are taking new heat, this time from healthy eating avocates in India.

A new report from Indian NGO, the Centre for Science and Environment, claims in its newest study that U.S. brands of fast food mislead the public by not printing the "real information" on ingredient and nutrition labels. After testing 16 brands of popular foods, the group claimed that Indian-packaged foods are missing key ingredients found on U.S. food labels. Among the brands tested: Maggi and Top Ramen noodles, McDonald's, KFC, and Haldiram's Aloo Bhujia.

While the report found fault with the brands' nutritional value — i.e., one packet of ramen contained nearly 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for sodium — the study's biggest claims were the mislabeling. While Top Ramen and Haldiram's Aloo Bhujia claim zero trans fats on the label, the CSE study found 0.7 grams and 2.5 grams of of trans fats per 100 grams.

Now, as the latest survey says nearly one in eight Indians are obese, the CSE is recommending governmental action to reduce the "junk" in junk food — salt, trans fats, and sugars — and force companies to provide nutritional information. However, said deputy program manager at the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) Savvy Soumya Mishra to the Times of India, a governmental slap on the wrist may not be enough to change Indians' dietary habits and recommended a ban in schools.

The accused offenders, Pepsi, KFC, Nestlé and McDonald's, have denied they are misleading the public with labels, Forbes reported.