Several popular food brands have landed in multiple controversies over the years. They have faced the heat for their products, unethical publicity, advertising and marketing campaigns that went wrong.
The world’s largest food products manufacturer, Nestle currently finds itself in one more such controversy. According a report published in Financial Times, the company has acknowledged that more than 60 percent of its mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a “recognised definition of health."
The leaked document, a presentation meant of internal circulation among top executives of Nestle, also mentioned that "some of our categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate."
However, the Swiss food and beverages conglomerate is not the only popular brand to be embroiled in such a controversy, as several others have faced similar allegations earlier.
MSG in Maggi
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned Maggi in 2015 after tests showed that it contained excessive lead and the labelling on its packets deceptively mentioned 'No added MSG.' The labels did not indicate the amount of flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate. Nestle has since then removed the claim 'No added MSG.' Nestle went on to recall Maggi from the market, challenged the ban that was imposed and the 'two-minute' noodles made a return to the shelves after being found to be safe for consumption.
Sugar Syrup in Patanjali Honey
A study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based NGO showed that honey sold by many popular brands, including Patanjali, Dabur and Zandu, among others, was adulterated with Chinese sugar syrup made from rice, corn, beetroot and sugarcane. The sellers sold the sugar infused honey as 'pure honey.' Samples from 13 brands of processed and raw honey that are sold in India were studied to check their purity. It was found that 77 percent of the honey samples was adulterated with sugar syrup. The brands that did not pass the test refuted the claims of the study and also put out elaborate ads in newspapers to assert their claims.
Detergent in Mother Dairy
In 2015, the Uttar Pradesh Food and Drug Administration found detergent in one of the samples of milk that was sourced from Mother Dairy. Mother Dairy, however, had firmly denied any adulteration of the milk sold in pouches.
Carcinogens in Britannia
A CSE test in 2016 found that 84 percent of the 38 commonly available brands -- including Harvest Gold and Britannia -- of packed breads, pavs and buns, contained potassium bromate and iodate. These chemical compounds are known to be carcinogens and harmful in nature.
The study also tested and found residues of the chemicals in buns and pizza bases in fast food chains such as Domino's, McDonald's and Subway. The FSSAI took cognisance of the matter and ordered a probe. The government subsequently banned the use of potassium bromate in bread production.
Top Ramen Recall
In June 2015 Hindustan Unilever recalled over 20 varieties of instant noodles including those sold under the brands Ching’s, Top Ramen and Knorr, as they were released in the market without due approval from food and safety regulators. However, the company denied that the products were discontinued over any safety or quality concerns.
(Edited by : Shoma)
First Published: IST