Time and again, big brands have suffered from rumours that undermine their products and legacy.
The rough and ready examples are soft drinks from Coca Cola and Pespi being used as bathroom cleaners and stories about a family of worms popping up from KFC chicken buckets.
These accusations do rounds in social media for a couple of weeks and then die down. The big brands usually do not respond to these accusations, nor do they take any responsibility for them.
Things were different when Amul was pilloried.
When an angry customer posted pictures on Facebook of Amul Gold Milk that had gone bad and asked people not to consume products of Amul, the brand not only responded to her but also investigated the matter.
On 10 October, Neha Tomar, a regular Amul Gold Milk consumer, posted the pictures of a foam-like substance that came out of the tumbler when her mother-in-law tried to make cheese out of the spoilt milk. She appealed to everyone not to consume the "deadly milk" and that strict, stringent action be taken against Amul.
The post went viral in a matter of days and caught the attention of Amul which got in touch with Tomar and investigated the matter. "Dear all, Thanks a lot for sharing my post on Amul milk. I happy to inform you all that Amul executives met me on Saturday regarding the issue and promised that they will going to take cognizance of the matter," Tomar posted on 13 October.
She further expressed her happiness in the brand taking an interest in looking in to a complaint raised buy their customer.
Amul has explained the details of the matter on their FaceBook page as well. Tomar had first called Amul customer care on 10th morning around 9.22 am, before e-mailing her complaint in the afternoon. From the complaints registered by her, it is understood that the milk surpassed its expiry date, which was 9 October, while inside the Tomar family refrigerator.
The dairy brand also reveals that while she faced the issue on 10th, the pictures were first posted on Tomar's Facebook page on 9th. Although the timing of the post now shows 10 October, Amul has attached a photo of the first post from 9 October as proof.
Amul officials visited Tomar's residence on 11 and once again on 13 to discuss the issue and explain the technical reasons for the milk to turn into what the pictures show as a gruesome product. They also asserted that none of the other packets of milk from the same batch has any such issues.
They say that the stretchy mass was the result of the consumer's failed attempt at making cheese from the sour milk.
"Any natural milk (branded/unbranded) which is acidified (sour) in the chilled condition and then heated shall result in curd mass which shows stretching property similar to that of mozzarella cheese," reads the post. They have further provided a video "Simulation of stretching property of Milk" to explain this phenomenon.
Amul further accused the customer of using her official position (she is a lawyer) to make such complaint without knowing the facts and further concealing the facts to generate and sustain the hype.
"Based on the misrepresentation of facts by the said consumer, we infer that the expired milk used by the complainant was deliberately abused to malign the brand," says Amul.
Neha Tomar is also not one to back out without stirring the pot a little and posted on 15 October: "Amul people have moulded the whole story just to favour them. I have done no wrong by spreading awareness about what I faced. I shared the pics and post cuz I'm a mother and I was worried and afraid after seeing what came out of that milk."