Almost a week after the state government imposed a ban on the production and sale of gutka and paan masala in Maharashtra, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department pulled up several government agencies for displaying advertisements of the banned products.
In one such case, FDA officials on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), asking why the FDA should not take action against it for misleading people by putting up ads of gutka companies on its buses.
In addition, under the new Food and Safety Standards Act of India (FSSAI), similar notices were issued to a couple of leading gutka companies for promoting the banned product in the state.
“We found that BEST has ads of gutka and paan masala on its buses which is banned in the state. They should not have taken up such ads that promote ban products. We have issued a notice to the company that gave this ad despite knowing that it (paan masala) is banned in the state. Moreover, under Section 24 of the FSSA law we have sought explanation from the BEST why no action should be taken against them,” FDA Joint Commissioner (Food) Suresh Deshmukh said.
Deshmukh said a similar notice was issued to a couple of leading paan masala firms for misleading people.
“We discovered that a leading paan masala company was distributing pamphlets which stated that one can consume paan masala manufactured by the company as it did not contain magnesium carbonate. This is against the law. It is clearly mentioned to them that nobody can manufacture or sell gutka or paan masala in the state. Hence, they cannot mislead people,” Deshmukh said.
BEST general manager O P Gupta said, “I haven’t come across any such letter. Hence I can’t comment on it.”
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>> Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Kerala are the states that have banned gutka
>> Maharashtra is the first state to ban both gutka and paan masala