A leading nutritional drink brand that claimed to increase the height of children using it by as much at two inches is facing a legal battle over what the petitioners say is a claim that is yet to be scientifically proved.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the western Indian state of Maharashtra initiated legal proceedings against the makers of Complan contesting a television commercial that seems to suggest that consumption of the health drink can add up to two-inches to a child’s height.

The Maharashtra FDA filed the legal proceedings in the Mazagaon metropolitan magistrate's court in Mumbai against Heinz India Pvt. Ltd. recently alleging 'exaggerated advertisement on television channels about the nutritional drink, published media reports said.

The makers of the health drink are violating the provisions of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 and Rules through making such tall claims which are scientifically unfounded, FDA has alleged in its charge-sheet.

The FDA has already issued Heinz India Pvt Ltd with a show-cause notice after receiving a complaint from the Consumers' Action on Safety and Health (ACASH) about the exaggerated claims, the charge-sheet said.

Local health authorities had asked ACASH to monitor violations, while passing the Infant Milk Food Act some years ago and the latest complaint against Complan is a continuation of their monitoring process of the infant milk food market, an ACASH official said.

Interestingly, the company that manufactures the health drink, denied having received any such notice. "We are not aware of any such complaint having been filed. We stand by our claim and would defend the same with appropriate research study," Heinz India officials were quoted as saying by the local media.

Complan maintained that the claim in their television commercials were based on an independent scientific study conducted by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition of a reputed university in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. The study used a sample size of 900 children aged between 7-12 years and conducted the study for a one-year period.

"The participating children attending schools included an equal number of boys and girls who were matched for age, height, weight and socio-economic status at the beginning of the study, to allow comparison after the year-long Complan supplementation," the company explained.

The peer-reviewed scientific study proved that the children who drank the health drink along with regular diet grow significantly taller compared to those who had only regular meals, the company has said.