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Maggi controversy: Violation of standards will make brand ambassadors liable

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The food safety watchdog has taken more samples of Maggi noodles across India for testing after certain harmful substances were allegedly found in a batch in quantities higher-than-permissible-limits, the government said on Monday warning that violation of standards will make even brand ambassadors liable.

“FSSAI (Food Safety Standards Authority of India) has taken up the case. It will take action. We have already written to the FSSAI,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said at a press conference here on Monday.

Clarifying the matter, Consumer Affairs Additional Secretary G. Gurucharan said the food safety authority had taken some samples across India for testing. This was after allegations were made over “dangerous levels” of some substances in the popular snack Maggi noodles in Uttar Pradesh.

“Some reports are expected today and within two-three days we will get complete reports. All parameters are being tested,” Gurucharan said, adding: “If there is any violation, FSSAI will take action.”

Asked for his comments over Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit being served notice by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Uttarakhand for endorsing Maggi noodles, Gurucharan said the brand ambassadors will also be liable if advertisements were found to be misleading.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Food Safety Commissioner Vijay Bahadur had said on May 21 that orders had been issued to Nestle to “look into the quality” of batches of Maggi noodles after some samples were reportedly found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of lead and monosodium glutamate.

The samples, authorities in Lucknow said, were taken from a lot in Easy Day departmental store at Barabanki, a district adjoining the state capital, in the second week of May. But Nestle said it was confident over these packs being no longer in circulation in the market.

“The company does not agree with the order and is filing the requisite representations with the authorities,” Nestle said.

The company also sought to dispel rumours that orders had been issued to recall all batches of Maggi noodles. In an e-mail statement to IANS, it said the batch in question had already passed the “best before” date in November last year, and was sure that it had automatically been recalled. IANS

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FDA Approves the New Generic EpiPen

Teva’s generic shot will be the first version that pharmacists can substitute even when doctors prescribe the original EpiPen

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EpiPen
A pharmacist holds a package of EpiPens epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Sacramento, Calif., July 8, 2016. Mylan has a generic version of its emergency allergy treatment and a new competitor has been given FDA approval. (VOA)

U.S. health officials Thursday approved a new generic version of EpiPen, the emergency allergy medication that triggered a public backlash because of its rising price tag.

The new version from Teva Pharmaceuticals is the first that will be interchangeable with the original penlike injector sold by Mylan. The Food and Drug Administration announced the approval in a statement.

EpiPen injections are stocked by schools and parents nationwide to treat children with severe allergies. They are used in emergencies to stop potentially fatal allergic reactions to insect bites and stings and foods like nuts and eggs.

EpiPen maker Mylan has dominated the $1 billion market for the shots for two decades. Several other companies sell competing shots containing the drug epinephrine, but they aren’t heavily marketed or prescribed by doctors.

In 2016, Congress blasted Mylan in letters and hearings for raising EpiPen’s to $600 for a two-pack, a five-fold increase over nearly a decade. The company responded by launching its own lower-cost generic version for $300.

Mylan CEO
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testifies, Sept. 16, 2016, before Congress over the cost of her company’s EpiPens. Lawmakers are outraged at high prescription drug costs, without acknowledging the role Congress may have played. (VOA)

Mylan continues to sell both versions at those prices, according to data from Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database.

Teva’s generic shot will be the first version that pharmacists can substitute even when doctors prescribe the original EpiPen.

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A Teva spokeswoman declined to comment on the drug’s price but said it would launch “in the coming months.” Generic drugs can be priced as much as 80 percent lower than the original product. But those price cuts usually appear after several companies have launched competing versions.

Teva’s bid to sell a generic EpiPen faced multiple setbacks at the FDA, which rejected the company’s initial application in 2016. While epinephrine is a decades-old generic drug, Teva and other would-be competitors struggled to replicate the EpiPen’s auto-injector device. (VOA)

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