US food regulator refusing entry to Indian snacks; found basmati rice 'filthy'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jun 14, 2015 12:43 IST

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has over a period of time refused entry to Indian snacks and other food products found containing pesticide, salmonella or something “filthy, putrid”.

According to FDA data it rejected more snack imports from India than from any other country in the first five months of 2015.

The FDA has repeatedly refused entry to Haldirams in recent months whose products were found adulterated with a “pesticide chemical”.

AK Tyagi, a senior-vice president at Haldiram’s, told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s food “is 100% safe and complies with the law of the land.” Discrepancies, he said, arise because food-safety standards differ in India and the US. “A pesticide that is permitted in India may not be allowed there. And even if it is, they may not allow it in the same concentration as it is here,” he said.

The FDA also found pesticide in basmati rice from a Haryana supplier in December 2014, and a “filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance” in another basmati consignment.

These rejections have now become part of a larger debate about food safety triggered by the action initiated by Indian authorities against Maggi noodles manufactured by Nestle India.

Nestle’s instant noodle was also refused permission to enter the US market by FDA on multiple occasions for not mentioning food allergens and other nutrients.

Some snacks brought to the US by a Gujarati company were found consisting “in whole or in part of a putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food” by the FDA.

The regulator has found salmonella in products coming under the “spices, flavours and salts” category from other leading Indian manufacturers as well.

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