New Delhi, April 25
In the light of suspension of Patanjali Ayurveda’s amla juice after it failed to clear a laboratory test, yoga guru Baba Ramdev has defended his product calling it medicinal and “absolutely safe” for human consumption. This comes after the Canteen Stores Department, the retailing entity selling of consumer goods to armed forces suspended sale of a batch of its amla juice and sent a show-cause notice to the company to examine the deviations and explain about them. They said “further action” will be taken on receipt of reply from the firm. Consequently, Ramdev said that norms prescribed by the country’s food regulator — Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — were not applicable to the juice. He called out for test to be conducted as per norms under Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) ministry. This issue gains importance as the government decided to allow Border Security Force (BSF) troops to use Patanjali products and opened dozen such stores in its campuses across the country. Additionally, The BSF Wives Welfare Association (BWWA) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with “Patanjali Ayurved Limited, Haridwar for sale of items of Patanjali through BWWA Patanjali shops spread across various BSF locations all over India.” The test was conducted by the Central Food Laboratory in Kolkata, which also detected high lead levels and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the samples of Nestle Maggi noodles two years ago. This is not the first time for the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firm to be questioned over product being sold within the legal purview. While its noodles and pasta were allegedly being sold without relevant licenses, advertisements of some of its products are accused of misleading customers.
Last year, over 2,000 BSF jawans that guards Indian borders along Pakistan and Bangladesh received physical fitness training at Ramdev’s Patanjali institute in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar. Ramdev’s Patanjali food park produces several fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and processed food items like chyawanprash, condiments, ghee and other items and the facility in Haridwar is guarded by an armed squad of another paramilitary, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
As most Patanjali’s products are 15%-20% cheaper than leading FMCG brands, it gives tough competition to its peers.