Relief for FMCG brand in ‘plastic’ allegation case

ITC has secured a restraint order against broadcasting and communicating allegations of ‘plastic’ being found in Aashirvaad Atta

HYDERABAD: Packaged atta brand Aashirvaad Atta has recently been the subject of some videos on internet platforms alleging that the atta contains plastic. The said videos claim that if the dough made from ‘Aashirvaad Atta’ was washed several times, it results in a gum-like substance, which was alleged to be plastic. The said videos are being made and circulated with the intent to cause confusion and false alarm among the general public regarding the use and consumption of Aashirvaad Atta, and to damage the reputation of ‘Aashirvaad’ brand.

What is being alleged as ‘plastic’ in these videos is reportedly a wheat protein (also known as gluten), which binds the atta together and gives elasticity to the dough when kneaded. Even the FSSAI regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, require that all atta must contain a minimum of 6 percent wheat protein.

In this regard, ITC had filed a suit in a Bengaluru City court, seeking an injunction against these videos and damages for loss of reputation.A restraint order was passed by the court recently, restraining the publishing, broadcasting, communicating or in any manner making such videos available or causing or continuing to make such videos available for public viewing on internet/social media platform providers, viz. Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

An NABL accredited laboratory in Mumbai, on testing Aashirvaad Atta as well as other popular atta brands recently, has allegedly confirmed the presence of gluten in the samples of all these atta in the range of 7 to 12 percent of atta. The report of the laboratory also reportedly said that when atta dough is washed with water, starch and fibre gets removed and a residue is obtained which is gluten and not plastic.

The New Indian Express