The Maggie instant noodles story is still fresh on consumer minds. Now that food safety and drug administration (FSDA) in Agra has found detergent in milk samples of Mother Dairy, it has created fresh worry for them. Not only this but the presence of live beetles and worms in Nestlé’s ‘Cerelac’ baby food has got consumers wondering about the safety of food manufactured by some of the most trusted brands in India.
While FSDA officials say that they have started the process of canceling Mother Dairy’s license for its Shahpur plant at Bah tehsil for using detergent in milk, the company denies the charges. Mother Dairy will also be charged a fine of Rs. 5 lakh for producing a substandard quality of milk at its Gajauraha plant. An FIR will be registered against the company under section 59 (1) of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 for selling unsafe food items in the court of an additional chief judicial officer.
While the products were first tested at the Meerut laboratory, Mother Dairy was not convinced of the results and sent them to Central Food Laboratory in Kolkata. Like the Meerut lab here to one sample tested positive for detergent and another showed 50% deficiency of SNF (solid, not fat) powder in milk which makes it a substandard product. In its clarification, Mother Dairy has said that the milk undergoes four levels of thorough testing at input, processing, dispatches and even at a market level as determined by FSSAI regulations. They further stated that every tanker of milk that reaches their plants has to pass 23 stringent quality tests. Only after getting a clearance for contamination, whether water, urea, oil or detergent is the milk accepted for processing.
In other cases of contamination, Nestle may be heading for fresh controversy about its manufacturing standards as two instances of contaminated ‘Cerelac’ have been reported from Coimbatore. In the first instance, live beetles were discovered by a mother in a packet of ‘Cerelac’ that was bought from a local pharmacy in Perur. The father has filed a complaint with the Food and Safety department who have sent the sample for testing. Once the report is obtained the official complaint will be filed. Nestle has not yet replied to the email sent by the Food Safety Department.
In another case, a young IT employee was shocked to find that the ‘Cerelac’ he had bought for their one-year-old son contained red worms in the wheat and milk powder. In this instance too the product has been sent to the government food laboratory for testing. The officials are of the opinion that the worms may have multiplied after packaging and they look like weevils that infect wheat. These worms have a way of penetrating wheat and laying eggs which get hatched once the wheat is crushed. Live larvae were also found in a packet of Nestle NanPro 3 milk powder last week.