Kanwal says SMC report fabricated, aimed to defame company

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SRINAGAR: Four days after Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) reported that fennel (sounf) powder manufactured by M/S Kanwal Agro Food Industries contained unsafe coloring agents, Kanwal group Friday challenged the report saying it was fabricated and aimed to malign the image of company.

Addressing a press conference here Managing Director of the company Farooq Ameen said that the fact is that Health Officer of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation had lifted a sample of sounf (fennel) seed powder for testing its chemical parameters. The sample was sent to the office of the Public Analyst Kashmir Province which cleared the samples as unadulterated and fit for consumption.

“I fail to understand that Health officer despite clarification by the Public analyst Kashmir sent the same samples to the Central Testing Laboratory, Kolkata.

He claimed that some vested interests in the SMC were hell-bent to malign their image. “Kanwal Group has its own base here which did not allow any outside company to dominate the Kashmir market from past 40 years. Now some elements with malicious intentions are trying to tarnish our image which is unacceptable to us,” Amin said.

Castigating SMC for not following SOP’s while collecting the samples of company’s product, Amin said that the report given by Kolkatta Laboratory is erroneous and defective. “We find it astounding how Kolkatta Lab described our product unsafe when the same product was declared conducive and standard by other laboratories of India,” he questioned.

He said that Kanwal officials had a meeting with district administration Srinagar in which everyone agreed that how can red colour be mixed with fennel powder which is green in colour. “I am ready to face music if found guilty. I am ready to bear all expenditures whatever SMC will incur for sending our samples to at least 5 different laboratories of India. Let us see what results we will get from these labs,” he said adding that Divisional Commissioner Kashmir was satisfied with the logic and assured that the fennel sample of Kanwal will be sent to different labs and results will be cross checked.

Farooq Amin said the fennel sample was sent to the office of the Public Analyst Kashmir who cleared the samples. “The concerned Health Officer was not satisfied with the report and thereof claims to have sent the counter samples of fennel to the Central Testing Laboratory Kolkatta to counter verify the sample for chemical characteristics and the report furnished by the laboratory claims that carmoisine and tartrazine were found in the tested samples.

Amin further said that Kolkatta lab claims that it found that colour additives, namely carmoisine, tartrazine and sunset yellow. “The irony is that how can red mix with green and besides the fact remains that price of the substantial use of these colorants in a product like sounf powder is more than the product itself which deflates the claims of a particular Health Officer of SMC,” he said adding that company will initiate legal action against SMC once reports about the product from different labs reach here.

He further said that as per SMC records the sample of fennel powder was collected in September and after a month it was sent to Kolkata lab. “I want to ask SMC why it took a month for it to sent samples to Kolkata. Where were the samples kept for a month? “There are certainly people who want to tarnish our reputation,” Amin said adding that Kanwal is a Kashmir brand and it is the company of Kashmiri people.

At the press meet president Chamber of Commerce, Shiekh Ashiq told reporters that KGI should be given a fair trial. “We are not supporting anyone but this is our demand that KGI should be given a fair trial. Nobody has right to malign anyone without any reason,” Ashiq said adding that they too are concerned about the reports of adulteration in food items in Kashmir Valley. 

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