THE ADVISABILITY of importing gelatin-laced chocolates into a country where consumption of meat remains a queasy subject for most has long been debated.
Now, nearly two months after lab tests confirmed the presence of beef gelatin in imported candies being sold in the City, civic officials have decided to take the bull by the horns.
The Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) has written to Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss seeking a ban on the use of beef gelatin in ‘imported chocolates and other edible substances’, as these could result in a violation of Hindu dietary taboos.
“Foreign chocolate manufacturers frequently fail to specify ingredients used in the product. Furthermore, the wrappers do not bear the markings for vegetarian (green) or non-vegetarian (brown) as mandated by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA), 1954,” complained Mayor-in-Council member in charge of health department Rajendra Rathore in a recent missive (HT has a copy) to the Minister.
The lack of information, the letter added, means that consumers have no idea of the chocolate’s contents and could result in inadvertent beef consumption. The MiC member made no bones about the socio-cultural implications of allowing beef-laced edible substances into the country.
“The cow is a venerated animal and its slaughter is a criminal as well as social offence. Importing foodstuff that contains beef hurts religious sentiments and we have received many complaints in this regard from political and religious organisations. You are, therefore, humbly requested to initiate proceedings for a complete ban on import of edible substances containing either beef gelatin or beef fat,” concluded the missive.
It may be recalled that ‘Gummy Band’, a jelly-like candy in the form of violins and guitars, was found to contain beef gelatin during a lab examination by the IMC. The candy is manufactured by Indonesian firm Yupi Indo Jelly Gum, PT.