After Maggi, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s noodles may be in a soup. The chairman of the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday sought “appropriate action” against Ramdev’s brand of noodles, launched without the regulator’s approval, given that such “product approvals were not taking place right now.”
Ashish Bahuguna the FSSAI chief, in a communication, said, “While our attention had been occupied by the Maggi case,” the media has reported that “Patanjali have launched or are in the process of launching a new brand of noodles without obtaining approval for it.” Bahuguna asked that “appropriate action” be taken on the matter. The communication was marked to three directors at the Delhi-based authority, who are in charge of enforcement, legal and product approval.
Ramdev’s FMCG venture Patanajali Ayurved had launched its noodles brand, aiming to take on Nestle’s Maggi which just returned to the market last week after a 5-month ban. This followed the Bombay High Court lifting a ban on Maggi imposed by FSSAI and Maharathstra FDA.
Bahuguna, who did not respond to a request for his comment on the action sought, however, told TOI that “product approvals are not taking place since the Supreme Court had quashed the product approval advisory issued by the FSSAI.”
He said that the FSSAI was “now in the process of framing new regulations. Once the regulations are in place and standards prescribed, product approvals could take place.”
It is learnt that the legal wing of the authority has asked for action to be taken, following Bahuguna’s note. The legal director’s remark to her AD was to proved with taking action since it was “impermissible” as “noodles are not standardised products under the regulation”.
Any non standardised product requires FSSAI approval.
Patanjali executives when asked had said, “If we don’t have approval how can we launch in market. This is a baseless question!”
The noodle packet contains Fssai logo and licence number which is not a mark of product approval for the noodles but only means under the law that the company has a licence to manufacture food items.
The SC in August had essentially upheld a Bombay high court judgment that had quashed the product advisory issued by the FSSAI to enforce food safety norms. The advisory issued in May 2013 required packaged food, beverage, health drink and supplement makers to disclose any ingredient or formulation change to FSSAI.
The Bombay HC had last year held that the advisory lacked force of law and could not have been issued by FSSAI without it being ratified by the two houses of Parliament. The SC order had come as a relief to large manufacturers of health and food products.
On Monday, the FSSAI moved the SC to be permitted to appeal against the Bombay HC order that had lifted the Maggi ban.