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India’s food regulator FSSAI warns against selling human milk

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India’s top food safety body, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has issued a directive to all states to stop granting licenses for the sale or processing of human milk.

The advisory, released on May 24, emphasizes that “activities related to the commercialisation of human milk and its products should be immediately stopped.”

Strict Prohibition on Commercial Activities

According to FSSAI guidelines, the sale or any commercial activity involving human milk is strictly prohibited. Human milk should only be used to feed newborns or infants in health facilities. The regulator has warned that any violation of this directive will attract punitive measures under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and its associated regulations.

In recent years, companies have emerged that process and sell human milk. Some of these companies even managed to obtain valid FSSAI licenses under the guise of selling dairy products. However, it was later discovered that they were selling powdered human milk sourced from women of humble backgrounds.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) has been urging the government to act against these companies. Dr. Arun Gupta, BPNI’s central coordinator, emphasized the need for legal action. He stated, “It took quite some time for the FSSAI to cancel the licence of Neolacta (a Bengaluru-based arm of a company from the UK), involved in the commercialisation of human milk.” He added that market forces should not drive the commercialization of human milk and human nutrition, according to reports from The Print.


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FSSAI’s directive comes in response to several registered societies that had requested the commercialisation of human milk. The regulator has made it clear that any activities related to this will not be tolerated and will face strict consequences.

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