KOCHI: The State Government on Monday submitted before the Kerala High Court that it had prohibited production and sale of certain brands of coconut oil, after they were found to be adulterated, not because they were unsafe for human consumption.
The State filed the affidavit in response to a petition filed by Kallada Oil Mills, manufacturer of Kallada Priyam brand of coconut oil, challenging the order of the Commissioner of Food Safety prohibiting manufacturing, storage, sales and distribution of the product.
The Food Safety Department submitted that the Coconut Development Board, a statutory body established under the Ministry of Agriculture, had reported to the Health and Family Welfare Secretary about adulteration of coconut oil with palm oil, palm kernel oil and even mineral oil.
There were widespread complaints from the general public and also from a section of manufacturers who do business honestly that coconut oil was being adulterated with cheap palm kernel oil.
“The order was issued on the basis of an analysis report obtained from food analysts appointed under the Act. The order was issued by the Commissioner of Food Safety to safeguard consumers’ interest against the fraudulent and deceptive act of the petitioner who willfully adulterated coconut oil. The office could not be a mute spectator, and the hapless general public could not be allowed to be victims of the vexatious interest of manufacturers. The Commissioner is empowered to prohibit manufacturing of substandard food products,” the state submitted.