Central food safety regulator FSSAI on Wednesday said yoga guru Baba Ramdev-promoted FMCG venture Patanjali did not have approval for its newly-launched instant noodles, which the company has vehemently denied.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Chairperson Ashish Bahuguna said no approval or licence has been granted to Patanjali for its instant noodles.
“For instant noodles, the companies need to take prior approval. They (Patanjali Ayurved) have not taken approval for it,” he said.
“Patanjali Ayurved has approvals for other products but they don’t have approval for instant noodles. As of now only 10 companies have approval for instant noodles,” Mr. Bahaguna added.
Patanjali, however, strongly denied FSSAI’s claims.
“We have licence for Pasta in central category from FSSAI. As per FSSAI, noodles come under the ‘pasta’ category.
FSSAI has given us licence for relabeling in the pasta category,” Patanjali said in a statement.
Based on the licence for pasta category, the company has entered into agreements with various companies that have licences for making noodles, it added.
The company further said FSSAI has already admitted that it was no longer possible for the regulator to continue with process of product approvals, which was facilitated through an advisory in May 2013, following a Supreme Court order in August this year that upheld an order of Bombay High Court on the issue.
According to FSSAI’s May 2013 advisory, food products covering a broad spectrum including “novel foods, functional foods, food supplements, irradiated foods, genetically modified foods, foods for special dietary uses or extracts or concentrates of botanicals, herbs or of animal sources” should apply for product approval.
The High Court had ruled that the advisory does not have any statutory backing, but the FSSAI had approached the apex court against the verdict.
>Patanjali had launched ‘Atta Noodles’ earlier this week in 70 gram packs priced at Rs. 15, claiming to be cheaper than competitors, with an eye to take on market leader Nestle’s Maggi, which had returned to the shelves five months after FSSAI had banned it.