In a bid to promote 'swadeshi' and healthy products to its consumers in the country, the Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved Ltd left a sour taste among edible oil extractors in India after it advertised its kacchi ghani mustard oil in print and electronic media.
While advertising for its Kacchi Ghani (raw) mustard oil, the Rs 5,000-crore Indian FMCG giant allegedly denigrated the solvent extraction companies by using "false, derogatory references."
Miffed with the “misleading information” by Patanjali, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) knocked at the doors of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to prevent Patanjali from spreading false information.
In its 3-page complaint to the FSSAI dated April 22, the trade body objected to the statement used by Patanjali which read, "Other than kacchi ghani process, most of the other edible refined oils and mustard oil are made using Neurotoxin Hexagon Solvent extraction process, to make profits at cost of consumers' health, many companies mix cheap palm oil in mustard oil." Patanjali referred to National Centre for Biotechnology Information, US (NCBI) to claim that "hexane solvent extraction process, which is petroleum by-product, is carcinogenic in nature."
Taking a strong objection to this, SEA pointed out that solvent-extracted oils, even if imported, go for human consumption only after refining. "Such oil shall not contain hexane more than 5.00 ppm. The process of hexane solvent extraction is approved as laid down in regulation 2.2.1 of Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011," SEA noted.
"Two months ago we had approached them (Patanjali) requesting to change the advertisement and not denigrate the industry by words such as 'carcinogenic'. We support kacchi ghani-crushed oils, but to promote your oils, you can't make derogatory and false claims about others," said B V Mehta, executive director, SEA.
Mehta further added, "As a matter of fact, Patanjali's atta noodles have rice bran oil as an ingredient. They (Patanjali) should know that rice bran oil itself is solvent extracted oil. We had no way but to approach FSSAI and ASCI to stop them from misleading consumers."