Patanjali Ayurved famous for its low prices, natural and pure products has once again appeared in the headlines. This time for its misleading advertisements. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been imposed a penalty of Rs 11 lakhs for the offence, as reported by The Times of India.
Yogendra Pandey, the Food Safety Officer with his team in the Haridwar Health Department took samples of honey, mustard oil, pineapple jam, iodised salt, gram flour and sent them for testing in Rudrapur Laboratory in Uttarakhand on August 16, 2012. The products failed the quality test, and it was found to be in the violation of sections 52-53 of Food Security norms (misbranding and misleading advertisement) and section 23.1 (5) of Food Safety and Standard regulation (packaging and labelling). They also said that the samples tested were not manufactured by Patanjali, but by another company, as reported by The Hindu and NDTV.
The food safety division filed a case against Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved in the Haridwar Additional District court in November 2012.
The magistrate Lalit Narain Mishra found the company guilty of releasing misleading advertisements by selling products with its labels although some other firms were manufacturing the products.
After four years of proceedings, the ADM court has ordered Patanjali Ayurved Ltd to pay Rs 11 lakh as fine for their offence.
In April 2016 the SEA (Solvent Extractors’ Association) a body of edible oil producers also filed a complaint against Patanjali claiming its advertisement of Kacchi Ghani Oil as derogatory and misleading.
Patanjali cleared that the oil is made from Kacchi Ghani process and blamed other brands for using the extraction method which involves neurotoxin hexagon ( a carcinogenic petroleum by-product), as reported by The Economic Times.
The CCC (Consumer Complaints Council) found that Patanjali had failed to substantiate its claims that the rivals manufactured mustard oil by solvent extraction process with the neurotoxin that contains Hexane ( a carcinogenic petroleum by-product). SEA further wrote to Patanjali to withdraw their misleading comments, but when Patanjali failed to respond they approached FSSAI.
The FFSAI directed Central Licensing Authority to issue a show-cause notice to the firm.
Patanjali Ayurved Ltd has been in controversies related to its products. In the past, it has been under the scanner for selling noodles and pasta without a license.
A study conducted by Consumer Affairs Forum also found that Patanjali Honey is not FSSAI approved and contains the high dosage of sugar or saccharine, which is not advisable for health. Many other products like ghee have not passed the US FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) guidelines
The company that stress on the fact that its products are Ayurvedic or natural brands and are more reliable than chemical product should understand the importance of transparency. As the business is growing leaps and bounds, Patanjali seems to be thriving on the insecurities of potential consumers.