Ever since Maggie has come into FDA’s trap, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has played a significant role in judging the food products that are being consumed generally. According to a latest report revealed by the national food safety authority, brands like Fieldfresh, McCain, Venky’s, Starbucks and the Blue Bell Creameries which have an online presence in India are under the scanner.
Why the Hullabaloo?
The food safety authority also mentioned that certain products sold under these brands, for example, Starbucks’ sauces, pudding, mixes, syrups and a set of tea and coffee were denied approval by the authority. Meanwhile, McCain, which is one of the largest food suppliers in India, was brought down by the food safety division for its cheese bites and battered pepper.
“Most of the food business operators, especially the aggrieved ones, appear to be swearing by the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, conveniently forgetting that it is also accompanied by the words ‘Zero Defect and Zero Effect’,” said Y S Malik, CEO, FSSAI in an open letter posted on the group’s website dated 11th May.
At the same time, Nestle India, which has been selling the instant Noodle Maggi in India for more than a decade now, has seen a 20-40 per cent of drop in sales in major metro cities. Contributing to approximately 40 per cent of the business, the latest issue has affected the business and brand image of Maggi noodles in the country.
“The System of ‘Product Approval’ has been projected as a highly contentious issue vis- à-vis the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) so far. There are a number of reasons for the Industry’s anguish in this behalf, of which, the most pressing could perhaps be attributed to the pendency of applications and the time taken in disposal thereof. I do not wish to be drawn into the debate about the merits of Product Approval, especially the sine qua non of the ‘Proprietary Food’ at this stage, stated Malik in the letter further.
However, talking to industry experts, it was also noticed that the product approval and the process required for a company to go through it is a long-drawn process, making the industry vulnerable to trouble. The industry also held the view that the law is too stringent to be followed, for a simple approval that they need to have, as the company needs to go through certain follow ups and the procedure is so slow that they would rather end the whole process.
How ‘Meri Wali Maggi’ wave has hit the social media
From the day Maggi ban hit the Indian market, Maggi lovers have come up with a mix of reactions on the social media pages. On one hand, many were unhappy with the issue, while on the other hand, consumers were happy to accept the situation looking for a better replacement of it.
However, going through all these setbacks, Nestle India has assured its customers for a safe Maggie bite announcing that the product samples have been sent to the local authorities for quality check.
Boosting the confidence of its customers, a Maggi spokesperson shared, “We are confident that these packs are no longer in the market. The company does not agree with the order and is filing the requisite representations with the authorities. In the meantime, it is important to note that there are no other orders to recall Maggi Noodle products in the market. People can be confident that Maggi Noodle products are safe to eat.”
FSSAI believes that the Indian consumer is less aware and largely gullible. As regards the constraints of our legal system, the organisation in a letter pointed out, “We often see the misleading claims and ads, but one is yet to see any visible signs of self-regulation."
However, it will be good news for other brands like MTR, Gitz, Yipee, Wai Wai noodles, and Bagrry’s among others to tap the market left by Maggi, if the government takes an initiative of banning it in India, as the replacement wave is already being witnessed on the social media platforms.
And to fix all these issues, both government and food regulators need to work together as this has a direct affect on the consumer who is going to consume these products. A more friendly law and a faster process will help in recovering these issues, which has been noticed time and again.