India-made food products face USFDA heat, Haldiram's top list of rejected items

After the ban on Maggi by most of the Indian states, more cats are slowly coming out of the bag. Data tabled in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, more food products from India have been rejected in the US in 2015 than that from any other country. The data on the website shows that most of snacks that were rejected were made by Haldiram's, a major Indian snacks and sweets manufacturer based out of Nagpur.

 India-made food products face USFDA heat, Haldirams top list of rejected items

Haldiram's are a major Indian snacks and sweets manufacturer. Haldiram's website

For the month February 2015, the FDA website lists out various Haldiram products under its snacks category in an 'Import Refusal Report' which lists refusal actions taken by the FDA against imported products.

The charge statement for every rejected Haldiram's product reads: "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, which is in violation of section 402(a)(2)(B)."

According to a Wall Street Journal report, more than half of all the snack products that were tested and then blocked from sale in the US in 2015 were from India. Indian products led the world in snack rejects in 2014 as well.

The report also said that the reasons for rejection of these products "vary from problems in packaging and labeling to alleged contamination. The FDA website says Indian products have been found to contain high levels of pesticides, mold and the bacteria salmonella."

US FDA had also started to test Nestle Maggi noodles manufactured out of India. Maggi noodles have come under the scanner in India for the past month and has been banned in many states after tests confirmed that the famous instant noodles contained higher than permissible leves of Lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).

The FDA website also lists out Nestle India products under its noodles and macaroni section of import refusal report.

The FDA charges Nestle noodle products of misbranding.

"The label fails to declare all major food allergens present in the product, as required by section 403(w)(1)," one of the charges reads.

Other charges also say that the article labelling fails to "bear required nutrition information."

This is how a table for rejected Haldiram's product looks at the FDA website:

Manufacturer FEI 3009445869
Manufacturer Name Haldiram Snacks Pvt. Ltd.
Manufacturer Address line 1 C-3, Sector- 67
Manufacturer Address line 2
Manufacturer's City Noida
Manufacturer Province/State Uttar Pradesh
Manufacturer Country/Area India
Product Code 07BGH99
FDA Product Description FRIED SNACK FOODS, N.E.C.

A Wall Street Journal report quoted AK Tyagi, a senior vice-president at Haldiram’s as saying that Haldiram's products are "100% safe," and that “pesticide that is permitted in India may not be allowed there (US).”

The disturbing bit of information is that Tyagi is not denying presence of pesticides. If a certain pesticide is allowed in India, despite being banned in the US, it does not mean it's safe for consumption. The Indian FDA has prodded only the surface with its ban on Maggi, but it must dig deeper to get the dirt thoroughly out.

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Updated Date: Jun 16, 2015 16:49:58 IST