From Maggi to Everest: India’s concerning quality standards of food & medicine put 1.4 billion people’s health at stake

World Health Organization and US regulatory bodies have also issued warnings for certain Indian-made products that can cause severe health problems

Everest-ban-explain, mdh-everest-ban-singapore, maggi-ban-india, bournvita-increasing-sugar-levels, Indian-cough-syrups-deaths, cancer-causing-pesticide-mdh, mdh-everent-ban-countries, Trending | From Maggi to Everest: India’s concerning quality standards of food & medicine put 1.4 billion people’s health at stake- True Scoop

India is considered to be one of the fastest-growing developing countries in the world. The country which is considered to provide spices, health drinks, medicines, etc to other countries is not able to keep the food safe. Lead in packaged food, pesticides in spices, sugar in baby food and deadly drugs in medicines are all that recently Indian companies have been called out for. The question here arises why is India struggling to keep food and medicines manufactures in its own country safe. Loopholes in FSSI policies, no strict laws, lack of stringent punishment and corporate greed is what have allowed these manufacturers to put the lives of around 1.4 billion people at stake. 


Cancer-Causing Pesticides Found In Spices

Certain Spices’ brands namely Everest & MDH that enjoy a good repo in the country faced a ban in Hong Kong and Singapore. Not only this, an per analysis of US regulatory data conducted by Reuters revealed that 20% of MDH’s US shipments were rejected between October 2023 and May 2024. The reason which Everest faced a ban were the high levels of cancer-causing pesticides found inside these spices. MDH products faced massive rejection due to the presence of salmonella, a bacterium that can cause gastrointestinal illness. As per FDA’s data, about 15% of 119 MDH shipments were rejected in financial year 2022-23. While the rection rate in FY 2021-22 was 8.19%. On the other hand, Everest also faced rejection for 450 shipments in FY 2023-24. 


Bournvita Losing Health Drink Tag

An advisory was issued by the Ministry of Commerce to Mondelez-owned Cadbury. The company was asked to remove its beverage ‘Bournvita’ from the category of healthy drink. In April 2023, Bournvita entered into a controversy when an influencer named Revant Himatsingka questioned the claims made by company of providing health benefits. The influencer claimed that how can ‘Bournvita’ be considered good for health when every 100 gm of it contains 50 grams of sugar. Post this, apex child right body ordered Mondelez-owned Cadbury to withdraw all its claims, advertisements and labels that were misleading. NCPCR also sent a notice asking the company to send a detailed explanation on this matter within a week. 


Maggi Containing Lead

In March 2014, Sanjay Singh a food inspector from Uttar Pradesh found a fault during his inspection. To clear his doubts, a few packets of Maggi were sent for testing. The tests revealed presence of MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) and lead content that exceeded the claims made by Nestle for almost 1,000 times. From June 5 to 1st September 2015, approx 38,000 tonnes of Maggi packets were withdrawn from retail stores all over India and destroyed. 

Deaths Due To India-Made Cough Syrups

In the year 2019, several children fell ill in India’s Jammu. All these children were suffering from cough and cold for last few days and got a syrup prescribed by doctor. Instead of recovering from the syrup, they seriously fell ill followed by high fever, vomiting, kidneys shutting down, etc. Around 11 children lost their lives aged between 6-11 years. A probe was initiated which revealed that cough syrups made by Indian drug company called Digital Vision contained certain solvents that are used in making paints, inks and fluids for brake. The side effect of consuming this solvent was kidney failure. The World Health Organization also put out a global warning about Indian cough syrups that took lives of 66 children in Gambia. Some of the cough syrups made in India contain diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol which causes 141 deaths worldwide. 

Why most of the investigations that got initiated were by foreign authorities while Indian food corporation authorities did not even hesitate to raise any health concerns. Why are these food items and medicines still available in India when banned in other countries? How did the companies get approval when its products posed severe health threats? 

LOOPHOLES

All the above-stated examples raise concern about the credibility of FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). FSSAI was set up in 2008. It is a governing body that keeps a check on the quality standard of food products produced in India. 


FSSAI Chose Money Over Citizens’ Health
In 2015, after Maggi was banned in the whole country India Today carried out a sting operation to check the working of FSSAI. The team of India Today role played to be namkeen manufacturers and asked for help from one of the inspectors working in FSSAI. The team said that it needed help because their ‘Namkeen Packets’ contained excessive amount of lead which was not good for human consumption. The inspector further asked the company to pay Rs. 20,000 a year for the food sample to pass without any restrictions. When the main governing body of food checking chose money over health what can be expected from the manufacturers. 

Government Turning a Blind Eye 
What’s shocking was when other countries were banning the usage of MDH and Everest, Indian authorities gave clarifications. Even after all the lab test reports produced by US, authorities denounced the claims as false and malicious. They did not even care to stop the production for the time all these investigations were going on. While a probe has been initiated, still the spices of Everest and MDH are available in market.  

No Mention Of Food and Medicine Concerns In Manifestos 
The Lok Sabha elections are on cards and all parties have released manifestoes promising citizens hundreds of things. There has been a buzz all over media about the dangerous ingredients present in food products and medicines manufactured by Indian companies that can pose severe life threat. However, this issue has not even been mentioned in manifestoes while solution for it is altogether a different thing. 

 

HEALTH RISKS BEING IGNORED
Recently a study stated that India is the new cancer capital of the World. The Indian multinational healthcare group, Apollo Hospitals released a report where they mentioned the skyrocketing cases of cancer coming in India every month. Soon after this, cancer-causing agents were found in Everest and MDH spices. 


There have been various cases of young generation dying of heart attacks and cardiac arrest. The cough syrup against which global warning was issued by WHO contained solvent that can lead to organ failure. 

Diabetes will soon become a juvenile disease. Instead of maintaining the sugar levels in products so that they don’t harm human body. Companies are increasing the level that can be dangerous for people’s health. 


There is a dire need for strong regulations, well-funded monitoring systems, honest governing body to ensure that only quality food products and medicines are manufactured in India. The health of 1.4 billion people should be the top priority and not money based on which food and drug samples should be checked. Government needs to realise that it works for the welfare of people and healthcare is the main indicator that must not be ignored or put at stake at any cost.


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