The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed its Central Licensing Authority to issue a show cause notice to Baba Ramdev's FMCG company, Patanjali Ayurved, for a misleading advertisement of its mustard oil brand. The ad of Patanjali Kacchi Ghani (mustard oil) claims that other refined edible oils and mustard oils use a cancer-causing chemical (carcinogen) called hexagon solvent in their manufacturing processes.
The FSSAI took the action after India's edible oil industry body, Solvent Extractors Association (SEA), approached the ASCI and urged it to take action against Baba Ramdev and his company, the Press Trust of India reported.
Ramdev's company also claimed in the print advertisement that a few companies are mixing palm oil with mustard oil to garner profits, thereby risking the health of people.
The edible oil manufacturing companies had taken a strong note of Patanjali's ad and written to Patanjali to withdraw its advertisements. However, since SEA did not get any response from the firm, it has moved the concerned authorities over the issue.
SEA rubbished Patanjali's claims by saying the refining process of edible oils ensures that all hazardous agents are removed. "It is obligatory to refine all solvent extracted oils to make it fit for human consumption. So, it is very clear that hexane is not a harmful solvent and even during the refining process, traces, if any, gets removed completely from the oil and, hence, oil obtained from the refining process is completely safe for use," BV Mehta, executive director, SEA was quoted by PTI as saying.
Meanwhile, Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director, Acharya Bal-Krishan, told PTI that the company would respond to the show cause notice. "The fact that hexagon solvent is a petroleum by-product which is carcinogenic in nature is a well-known fact. We have merely pointed it out in the interest of our consumers. If you go on the internet you will find many reports that scientifically proves it," he said.
Patanjali was also pulled up earlier by India's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), for 'unfairly denigrating' other products in the market in its advertisements.
Patanjali Ayurved is racing ahead of many FMCG majors, including Colgate, Palmolive and Nestle, and registered sales worth Rs. 5,000 crore in the financial year 2015-2016. The company is aiming to double its revenue this fiscal.