HJ Heinz, the US ketchup maker, has stressed its products on sale in India meet local regulations as the company confirmed it is in “ongoing communication” with Indian food quality regulators.
Indian reports suggested the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is concerned about the level of sugar in Heinz’s baked beans, which are labelled as being low in sugar. The FSSAI is said to be requesting packaged food makers to provide scientific substantiation for any on-pack claims.
A spokesperson for Heinz told just-food: “Heinz is fully committed to abiding by all regulatory requirements in India — both in letter and in spirit. We co-operate closely with respective authorities to ensure that communications the company makes on products are fully compliant and are substantiated and in line with regulations as they evolved over time. FSSAI did seek an explanation from Heinz on specific packaging claims and we are in ongoing communication with them.”
The speculation comes amid a crackdown on packaged food makers from the FSSAI following test results that found Nestle’s Maggi noodles contain MSG when packaging states “no added MSG”. Noodles tested by some Indian states were also found to contain levels of lead beyond those allowed under Indian food safety regulations. Nestle’s own testing contradicts these results and the Swiss food giant insisted its Maggi noodles are “safe”. The company nevertheless recalled the noodles last week.
US cereal maker Kellogg is among other companies said to be in the FSSAI’s firing line. In particular, the FSSAI is reportedly interested in the content of Kellogg’s Oats and Honey cereal product. The company did not respond when contacted for comment by just-food.
Elsewhere, the FSSAI confirmed it is testing dry noodle, pasta and macaroni products manufactured by a variety of companies. State food safety agencies are collecting further product samples made by Nestle, Ruchi International, Glaxosmithkline Consumer Healthcare, AA Nutrition, Indo Nissin Food and ITC Ltd.
In a letter to state authorities, the FSSAI said: “You are advised to draw samples of the food products… and take action… [if] food items not found conforming to the applicable standards… You are advised to ensure that such products are recalled, removed from the market and destroyed.”