Mumbai: Lonavla's famous Maganlal chikki gets picked by FDA for violating safety norms
Famous nutty treat pulled off shelves after company found guilty of not following mandatory quality control norms
There will be no more snacking on the famous Maganlal chikki while passing through Lonavla for a while. Maganlal, one of the most famous manufacturers and distributors of the nutty treat, has been pulled off the shelves by the Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for violating food safety norms.
There's no need to panic yet, this doesn't necessarily mean that the chikki you've been munching on all these years was harmful. However, the company has been found guilty of violations such as not having food quality experts on board, and not sending samples for testing at the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
On December 11, the FDA conducted a surprise test at the factory in Lonavla and found the factory in violation of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, as well as guidelines set by the NABL. Speaking to mid-day, Suresh Deshmukh, joint commissioner of the FDA, Pune, said, "We were surprised to find so many violations. Such a big company with an annual turnover of R100 crore doesn't even have experts to keep a check on the food quality."
A notice has been sent to the company to shut shop until they comply with the safety rules. "They have to ensure that they follow all the rules, as mentioned in our notice. If they sell any product without further scrutiny, they will have to pay penalty of R2 lakh, and additional action can be taken against them," said Deshmukh.
The company had been conducting its food quality checks at a normal laboratory. However, the rules state such testing must be done at NABL.
Ashok Bharat Agarwal, co-partner at Maganlal Food Products, claimed that the quality of the chikki is as per the safety norms. They have now sent samples to the government-accredited laboratory for testing. "We have sent samples to the NABL for testing and will submit the report by the end of this year. Also, we are in the process of appointing an expert for quality control."
The company claimed that so far, they never received any complaints from customers regarding quality. "We will start the factory within a week, after getting permission from the FDA. We will ensure, henceforth, that all products are sent to NABL for testing," Agarwal added.
FDA officials have now started a crackdown on all chikki manufacturers after this case, to check whether they are following safety norms. That's the way the chikki crumbles.
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