The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said that Patanjali Yogpeeth (Trust) has not taken approval from the regulator to manufacture instant noodles that was launched under the brand name 'Patanjali Atta Noodles' by yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Monday.
"Patanjali Atta Noodles has not got product approvals from us. The matter has been brought to our notice. We are pursuing it," FSSAI chairperson and CEO Ashish Bahuguna told The Indian Express.
When questioned about the licence number 10014012000266 printed on the noodle packets, he expressed both surprise and ignorance. "How can licence be given for a product that has not been approved? Licences are issued by the state government to manufacture certain items. But approvals for (non-standardised) products are given by us. That approval was not taken. I do not know how the licence was procured," Bahuguna said.
According to The Indian Express sources, Ramdev's FMCG company Patanjali Ayurved Ltd hasn't applied for approval to manufacture instant noodles.
The daily quoted FSSAI sources as saying that since noodles falls is not a standard product, it needs to be approved by the food safety regulator before sold commercially.
The FSSAI licence issued to the company only allows manufacturing of products, including fruit juices/ready to serve fruit beverages, ghee, mustard/coconut oil, salt, asafoetida, biscuit, sattu, oats, cornflakes, poha, soan papdi, jaggery powder, namkeen and papad, gur, whole wheat atta, pulses, sweets and pasta products (macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli).
Patanjal Trust, however, claims it has not violated any FSSAI rule saying FSSAI rules do not legally bind a manufacturer to get a separate licence for launching noodles.
"In context with misleading news published today in newspapers regarding Patanjali Atta Noodles, we categorically state that we have followed all FSSAI rules and guidelines and committed no violation," the Trust said in a press release released on Wednesday.
The FSSAI will have to wait for Patanjali Yogpeeth to launch its atta noodles in the retail market to take any action. The trust is likely to launch the product in the market by next month.
Baba Ramdev has apparently pitched 'Patanjali Atta Noodles' as a competitor to Nestle India's Maggi instant noodles, to take advantage of the regulatory challenges it has faced over safety concerns, in the past few months.