Chewing gum players in a fix with HP, Haryana imposing temporary ban

Our Bureau, New Delhi | Updated on April 07, 2020

The decision to impose a temporary ban on the sale of chewing gums, bubble gums and similar products by State governments of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Covid-19, has put the chewing gum industry in a fix. Both the governments have reportedly imposed the ban till June 30.

Various industry players and associations are now in discussions with the State government authorities to understand the basis of such a ban on chewing gum sales. Industry players said that there is no scientific evidence behind such a move. The players also said such a ban will adversely impact livelihoods and the focus should instead be on propagating good hygiene practices.

Rajesh Ramakrishnan, MD, Perfetti Van Melle India, said: “There appears to be no scientific evidence to support the assertion that Covid-19 is spread through the exclusive spitting of gum.” He added that Perfetti Van Melle supports the comprehensive global efforts and initiatives that are in place to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 and is adhering to all recommendation from WHO, US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority.

“None of the entities has recommended a ban on chewing gum. Nor has any other country chosen to implement such a ban. In line with the guidance issued by food and health authorities globally, the right approach is to encourage good hygiene practices amongst the larger population,” he said. Ramakrishnan added that the company appreciates all of the proactive measures being taken by the government to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for Mars Wrigley said, “We are working closely with local authorities to remain protective of public health while ensuring the products that customers value and expect to see on their shelves, are made available to them during this period. It has been our endeavour to educate our consumers to dispose chewing gums responsibly to maintain a clean, hygienic environment. This is displayed on every gum pack that the consumer buys and we remain committed to spreading awareness about responsible gum disposal.”

The spokesperson added that the company “supports the stringent measures that the government has put in place to protect the country during the unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19, as well as efforts by all authorities at the frontline who are working tirelessly to maintain public health and safety.”

A senior industry executive added , “We don’t understand the basis of such a ban when the country is under lockdown. In addition, there is no advisory by any international body to back this move.”

Published on April 06, 2020

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