Energy drinks, weight loss drugs come under FDA scanner, raids to continue
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After 16 lakh cans of energy drink Red Bull worth Rs 6.5 crore were seized by the state Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) last week , the authority is now tightening noose around various other beverages mushrooming in the market.
A team of FDA inspectors had seized the stock from two different distributors in Thane and Vikhroli. Officials said the raid was conducted after studying samples of the drink, which showed that the caffeine content in it was beyond permissible limits and further raids of such products will continue.
"Manufacturers claim that these drinks are non-carbonated and boost energy. But you can clearly see and taste the fizz. Consumers must not get fooled by such gimmicks, especially when they are being consumed largely by youngsters," said G Rathod, Joint Commissioner (Food) of the FDA.
Rathod said the caffeine content in the drink was found to be as high as 250 parts per million (ppm). According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), carbonated drinks are permitted to contain 145 ppm. However, a recent ruling by the Madras High Court said the FSSAI did not have specific norms for energy drinks owing to which Red Bull was exempted from the regular standards maintained for carbonated drinks. "Considering the legal situation, we can't take any further action apart from seizing stocks," Rathod said.
A spokesperson from the Mumbai office of Red Bull said the FDA's action came as a shock. "We are a global brand complying with both national and international standards. The caffeine level in Red Bull is very much within permissible standards. We did not expect this sort of a move by the Maharashtra FDA," the spokesperson said.
The FDA has also come down on weight loss drugs. Following complaints from consumers, notices were sent to companies manufacturing weight loss drugs which showed serious side effects, such as drastic weight increase and skin problems. "We have already started analysing samples of weight loss capsules. Many of them showed an extremely high level of fat. Necessary action will be taken against the defaulter companies," said a senior official from the Drugs department of the FDA.
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