Consumer Issues
Gerber Sued over Allergy-Prevention Claims

The baby formula company, a division of Nestle, did not have science to back up claims, the US government agency alleges


It is timeout for Gerber amid allegations that the company uses unproven allergy-prevention claims to sell one of its baby formulas.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in a lawsuit filed last Wednesday, alleges that Gerber, a division of Nestle, deceptively advertises its Good Start Gentle baby formula as being able to prevent or reduce the risk of an infant developing allergies — even if mommy or daddy suffers allergies.

An Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision allowed Gerber to make the narrow claim that Good Start Gentle can reduce the risk of one type of allergy, atopic dermatitis, also known as baby eczema. But that decision did not permit Gerber to make general allergy claims like the one in the ad pictured right, the FTC says.

“Parents trust Gerber to tell the truth about the health benefits of its formula, and the company’s ads failed to live up to that trust,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Gerber didn’t have evidence to back up its claim that Good Start Gentle formula reduces the risk of babies developing their parents’ allergies.”

The FTC also took issue with a gold badge featured in some Gerber ads stating that Good Start Gentle is the “1st and Only” formula that “Meets FDA Qualified Health Claim.” The FTC said that was false advertising because the FDA only allowed Gerber to say the formula may lower the risk of developing the one allergy.



Mr Fadnavis & media: a Right to Service Act already exists!

An enthusiastic Devendra Fadanvis, the new CM of Maharashtra, wants to introduce the Right to Service Act after receiving a ‘vision’ report from the chief secretary. The media is reporting this with equal enthusiasm. However, since 2006, there already is an Act of this kind


Devendra Fadnavis, the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra, during his maiden press conference, talked about bringing in a Right to Service Act (RS Act) for empowering the citizens. However, what he may have missed is the same Act already exists in the state and Maharashtra government just has to make it active by updating the Citizen’s Charter for every department and ministry. In May 2014, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner and Right to Information (RTI) activist, even conducted a seminar at Moneylife Foundation on using Right to Service Act effectively.

Quoting the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra, media reports say, “People are fed up of the absence of legal recourse in the numerous instances of ineffectual services that they are forced to endure. I have asked each department to come up with a vision report to make legal options available to people. The Chief Secretary will submit his report within a month. We will introduce the Right to Service Act after the report is submitted.”

There is already such an Act. The RS Act or Transfers & Delays Act, as it is popularly known, was passed by the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government under the name of “Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2006”. The law was passed in 2006 and its relevant rules came into existence in November 2013. However, the Congress-NCP government preferred not to “implement” the Act by updating the Citizen’s Charter and so it remained hidden from the public. In order to bring this Act to light, Moneylife foundation held a seminar “Make the Government Work for you” on 23 May 2014 with Mr Gandhi.

Mr Gandhi said, 'Citizen’s Charter' forms the soul of this act which according to Section 2 (a) means, “List of facilities or services rendered by the office or Department, together with the time limit for providing such facility or services to the general public.” However, despite brining out relevant rules in November 2013, the state government did not bother to update the Citizen’s Charter. The Citizen’s Charter is updated by May every year.

Here is an example of how the Citizen’s Charter is made useless by babus. The General Administration Department (GAD) published its Citizen’s Charter on 18 July 2014. However, except the first three pages at beginning and one in the end, all other pages of this Citizen’s Charter are published in unreadable format. These pages are in wide format but published in vertical scroll. So either you have to change the direction of the pages every time or rotate your face to read. (see the image below)

One of the main harassments faced by the common people happens when arbitrary transfers and postings of government officials take place. In order to make the transfer policy transparent, section 4 of the RS Act specifies, “The tenure of Government servants will be three years and transfers will normally be made only in April and May of each year. If an officer has to be transferred for special reasons in less than his tenure reasons have to be recorded in writing.”

According to Mr Gandhi, the Act and its Rules needs to be published by every department as this would create awareness amongst the public as well as ensure the civil officers adhere to their deadline. Taken together with the rules, no state government official can delay a response to a citizen's application, representation or complaint for over 90 days.

He emphasised the use of the RS Act with RTI to bring about a change, which will rule out red-tape and harassment of common man. “If you want the government to work for you, you will have to act. It is our responsibility to enforce government accountability by making use of these acts," Mr Gandhi said.

May be it is time for Mr Fadnavis to take stock of laws passed but not yet implemented by the state government and also procure detailed information from the babus on any issue before making any announcement or statement.




3 years ago

Sure enough the Chief Secretary who prepared the new draft bill, knows very well that there is already such a law ,but requires to be amended to make more citizen friendly. Instead of suggesting that, it appears politics has crept in as BJP does not seem to follow or appreciate any law to be adopted as was passed by the Cong-NCP Government.
AS was explained by Sailesh Gandhi in his article in media when the news of this new act came, the present act should be refurbished by amending Citizen Charter ,time frame for services to be delivered to common citizens by each department or official. Plus there have to be penal provisions by a special authority to be appointed in case of violations or defaults. The present law just nee more teeths and proper rules and authorities for effective implementation.Many states like Rajasthan etc etc. where similar acts are in use but only on paper for lack of citizen awareness and absence of penal provisions and enforcement machinery.

Sadashiv Amrapurkar passes away

Sadashiv Amrapurkar, the multifaceted actor who made us laugh and cry with ease, played iconic character roles including a ruthless eunuch in ‘Sadak’, a villain in ‘Ardh Satya’ and a selfish father in ‘Ishq’ with an effortless ease


Bollywood actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar, who was being treated for a lung infection at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai, passed away on Monday. He was 64.


His last rites will be performed in his native place in Ahmednagar district Tuesday, family sources said.


Known for his subtle mannerism, the versatile Amrapurkar played varied villainous and comic roles in Indian cinema enthralling the audience with his ’unique’ style in a career spanning over three decades.


The ailing actor, who died at a hospital in Mumbai Monday morning at the age of 64, played iconic character roles including a ruthless eunuch in ‘Sadak’, a villain in ‘Ardh Satya’ and a selfish father in ‘Ishq’ with an effortless ease.


Ironically, while he would instill fear with his negative roles on—screen, the actor was a true gentleman in real life and involved in many social activities.


Born as Ganesh Kumar Narwode to an auto driver in Nashik in 1956, he adopted the name Sadashiv in 1974. Fondly known as Tatya in his family and friend circle, Amrapurkar grew up in Ahmednagar with his parents and a younger brother.


Right from his younger days, Amrapurkar was into acting and was part of several plays in school and college.


He was a trained singer but was advised that his highly nasal baritone would prevent him from achieving fame — so at the age of 21, Sadashiv migrated to theatre and the stage.


He acted in more than 50 plays and also began to act in minor roles in Marathi cinema until in 1979.


In 1981-82, Amrapurkar acted in a Marathi stage play ’Hands—Up!’ alongside stage actors Avinash Masurekar and Bhakti Barve—Inamdar. This play was a super—hit and Amrapurkar was noticed by director Govind Nihalani who was searching for an artiste to play the central negative character in his movie ’Ardh Satya’


The movie went on to be a success and Amrapurkar’s acting was appreciated. His style of dialogue delivery was considered unique as compared to the popular Hindi movie villains in those days.


After ‘Ardh Satya’, Amrapurkar starred in small roles in films such as ‘Purana Mandir’, ‘Nasoor’, ‘Muddat’, ‘Veeru Dada’, ‘Jawani’, and ‘Farishtay’.


In 1987, he starred as the main villain in Dharamendra starrer ‘Hukumat’ which went on to be a blockbuster that grossed even more than ‘Mr India’.


Amarapurkar became the “lucky mascot” for Dharamendra and thereafter they both starred in several movies. In 1991, he appeared as a eunuch in ‘Sadak’. He won a Filmfare award for his performance and became the first recipient of the best negative role honour.


In the mid-1990s he migrated towards supporting roles and comic roles in ‘Mohra’, ‘Ishq’, ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, ’Aankhen’, ‘Coolie No 1’, ‘Gupt: The Hidden Truth’, ’Aunty No 1’, ‘Jai Hind’, ‘Master’ among others.


He played the role of Dr Khanna in the 1996 film ‘Chhote Sarkar’ Since the 2000s, Amrapurkar has been rarely seen in Hindi movies.


Apart from giving some power—packed performances in more than 300 movies in Hindi, the actor also tried his luck in Bengali, Oriya and Haryanvi movies.


Amrapurkar had gone missing from the industry for quite some time and was last seen on the big screen in 2012 film ’Bombay Talkies’, which was made to celebrate the centenary year of Indian cinema.


Amrapurkar had won two Filmfare awards. In 1984, he won the award for the best supporting actor for Ardh Satya and in 1991, the best villain trophy for his portrayal of a ruthless eunuch in Sadak.


After 2012, he had become selective and was more into social work in the last few years.


Amrapurkar will be forever remembered for bringing villains on par with the heroes.


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