With Nestle still licking its wounds and bracing itself for many more to come, the government is gearing up to test cold drinks and other food items. Amid the intense Maggi row, the Gujarat government has decided to conduct tests on food products of all major brands sold in the state, including those of multi-national soft drink giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Gujarat Gearing Up
The announcement was made today by Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel after the State Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) found considerable amount of alcohol in a locally made energy drink yesterday.
“Now, we have decided to conduct food safety tests on all food products, including some well-known brands of multinational companies. These will include ice creams, soft drinks and other packaged food products being sold in the state,” he said during a media interaction here.
Asked if such tests will be conducted on international brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Patel said every food product would be checked. “When I say all the brands then it covers these brands too. It is also possible that some banned substances may have entered into these products due to carelessness. Thus, such tests are necessary,” said the Minister.
The Energy Drink That Caused This Stir
Yesterday, FDCA raided several shops in Saurashtra and north Gujarat, and seized bottles of an energy drink, ‘U Star’, on suspicion its manufacturer has added alcohol in it. During lab tests, it was revealed that alcohol content in the energy drink was up to 10 per cent in each bottle of 200 ml, priced at Rs 100.
“The manufacturer of the beverage called ‘U-Star’ claimed it is an energy drink and sold it Rs 100 per bottle. Recently, we came to know that it contained a considerable amount of alcohol, which is not permissible,” Gujarat FDCA Commissioner H G Koshia said. “The drink was sold mainly at paan shops. Our teams raided several parts of Saurashtra and Northern Gujarat region to seize several bottles of the drink.
“One could easily smell alcohol in the drink. To verify the contents of the drink, we sent its samples for laboratory tests,” Koshia said.
“We learnt that the manufacturer of U-Star is D R Zala & Company, which has a plant at Gandhidham in Kutch region. FDCA found 8-10% alcohol content in the drink. We are yet to trace the owners as they have shut the plant and gone underground,” said Patel.
Meanwhile, in another development related to food safety, Gujarat government has decided to ban an Umargam, Valsad district-based noodle brand for having high amount of lead in its schezwan noodles. Similarly, some more samples of Nestle’s instant noodle brand Maggi, already banned in the State for containing excess amounts of lead, have failed the food safety test. You don’t say!