CHANDIGARH: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed a soft drink distributor to pay a penalty of Rs 30,000 after an insect was found in a bottle.
Raman Singla of Nayagaon filed a complaint against Pepsico India Holdings Private Limited, alleging a dead insect was in ‘Slice’, a product of Pepsico, that he had purchased for Rs 10 from a cafe in PGI on December 10, 2014. “I showed the bottle to the shopkeeper. But he replied it was not his fault as the bottle was sealed,” the complaint read.
A notice was sent to Pepsico India Holdings, Panipat, Haryana, Grace Drinks Private Limited, distributor of Pepsico Beverages, Daria village, Chandigarh, and Relax Cafe House, PGI, Chandigarh. However, no one appeared on behalf of the distributor.
Pepsico stated, “Some individuals are manufacturing various soft drink beverages using brand names and FIRs have been lodged against them. It has been denied that the complainant had purchased the alleged cold drink (Slice) and he found a dead insect inside the bottle.”
The shopkeeper replied “there was no fault on his part as he was running the shop/cafe on the instance of the distributor as the sealed material was supplied to it by the distributor”.
Punjab food analyst, in its report, submitted the seal of the bottle was found to be intact, contents contained one dead insect, and it was unsafe for human consumption.
The report also stated the “product was not labelled as per provisions of regulation 2.2.2(8) and (9) of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011, as batch/lot number and date of manufacturing/packing has not been mentioned on the label. Hence, misbranded also.”
Referring to the report, Pepsico stated the bottle was misbranded. Pepsico’s counsel also produced the copies of newspaper cuttings and FIRs to show some of the factory owners were engaged in the business of manufacturing spurious cold drinks.
The forum stated, “The evidence on record points out the bottle bearing the name ‘Slice’ contained a dead insect and the same was unfit for human consumption and it was sold by the distributor to the shopkeeper, who sold it further to the complainant.” Since the distributor did not come forward to contest the case, it was proved he was guilty of indulging in unfair trade practice and deficient in rendering service, the forum said, adding he was directed to make payment of Rs 30,000 as compensation to the complainant and Rs 10,000 towards costs of litigation.
HOW IT ALL UNFOLDED
- Nayagaon resident bought a cold drink from a shop in PGI
- Found an insect floating in sealed bottle
- Filed a complaint
- Sent application to food analyst, Punjab
- Report submitted seal of bottle intact, contents of sample contained dead insect and unsafe for human consumption
- Report stated bottle was not labelled as per provisions of food safety and standards regulations
- Pepsico Private Limited contested bottle misbranded
- Shopkeeper gave evidence he bought it from distributor
- Forum stated proved distributor guilty of indulging in unfair trade practice.