The FSSAI said Patanjali noodles, from the stable of entities owned by yoga guru Ramdev, had not been approved.
Just as it seemed the five-month battle over Nestle's Maggi brand of instant noodles was getting over, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has fuelled another issue on the need for product approval.
On Tuesday, its chairman, Ashish Bahuguna, said Patanjali noodles, from the stable of entities owned by yoga guru Ramdev, had not been approved.
This is even as a Supreme Court order in August had said FSSAI’s product approval guidelines for non-standardised food items such as noodles, pastas and macaroni had ceased to exist.
“There is no product approval system as per law (now),” said Zakir Merchant, partner, Khaitan & Co. Ashish Prasad from Economy Laws Practice felt likewise.
Bahuguna’s internal note points to press reports about Patanjali having launched or in process of launching a new brand of noodles, “without obtaining approval for the same”.
He added: “Please take appropriate action.”
Yet, on August 26, following the SC order, the FSSAI had issued a notification that, “It is no longer possible for FSSAI to continue with process of Product Approvals...in view of the order dated August 19 (of the SC), whereby the judgment and order dated August 1, 2014, of the Bombay High Court has gained finality and the said Advisory has ceased to remain operative”.
Following FSSAI’s comments, a spokesperson of Patanjali said: “We categorically state that we have followed all FSSAI rules and guidelines, and committed no violation.”
Patanjali has been selling noodles under a licence for pasta. For licensing purposes, noodles and pasta are grouped together.
When asked, Bahuguna told Business Standard: “The licence is not for instant noodles, which requires product approval.”
He did not, however, clarify the regulator’s current stand on the product approval system.