After lead in Maggi, it’s pesticides in Haldiram’s

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NEW DELHI: After the Maggi fiasco, domestic snack maker Haldiram’s faces “refusal” of its fried namkeen and candies in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration has refused 90 batches of Haldiram’s products in the past five months, since January.

Of the total 171 batches of snacks imported that the USFDA refused, 90 were from Haldiram’s, making India the largest contributor to refused snacks imported into the US.

According to the USFDA site, Haldiram has been charged under violation of 402(a)(2)(B), which defines adulteration. The charges elaborated states: “The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to section 801(a)(3) in that it appears to be adulterated because it contains a pesticide chemical.”

Apart from fried snacks, batches of Haldiram’s candies are also under the USFDA lens. When tests were done, sulphites were found, which Haldiram did not disclose on the wrapper. “It appears that the food is fabricated from two or more ingredients and the label does not list the common or usual name of each ingredient,” US FDA said.

US FDA spokesperson Jennifer Corbett Dooren said that “FDA issues a notice of action to firms” once a refusal happens. As per the notice the firm is entitled for an informal hearing to provide the testimony regarding the admissibility of the product. If it fails to prove evidence that the product meets compliance, it will have to either export the product out of the US, or destroy it within 90 days. Haldiram continues to say that it maintains the standards prescribed by USFDA.

Earlier tests on Maggi samples in labs had showed lead content with traces of monosodium glutamate (MSG). The health and family welfare department directed Nestle to recall all its stocks throughout the Indian market.

The government explained that ban on its sale deems the product as “expired” one and hence the recalled Maggi noodles are considered hazardous for consumption and need to be destroyed.

The health department has also booked cases against Nestle under sections 20, 53 and 54 of the FSSAI Act of 2006. Accordingly, Nestle has been accused of issuing misleading advertisements, selling food product for human consumption containing extraneous matter, contaminants, naturally occurring toxic substances, heavy metals etc.

Meanwhile, the government has also sent three letters to FSSAI seeking clarity on the permissible limits of MSG. The letters were dispatched earlier last week by the health department.

Department sources said the state government had obtained “special permission” from the Centre to conduct a second test on Maggi and eight other brands of noodles.

Haldiram’s is a major Indian sweets and snacks manufacturer based in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. The company has manufacturing plants in Nagpur, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bikaner. Haldiram’s has its own retail chain stores and a range of restaurants in Nagpur and Delhi. In contemporary times, Haldiram’s products are exported to several countries worldwide, including Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and others. –FS

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