India led the world in snack rejects last year

Made in India products topped the list of highest snack rejects last year and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has issued more warnings for snacks imported from India than others this year. According to data released by the USFDA, the reject food is alleged to consist of ingredients otherwise unfit for consumption. Minor labeling issues, unhygienic manufacturing conditions and pesticides content above acceptable levels are why these snacks were denied market entry.

haldiram_snackrejectsSeveral top companies like Hindustan Unilever, Britannia, Nestle India, Haldiram, Heinz India and MTR Foods headlined the food reject list.

Since January, more than 2,100 import batches were rejected. Recently, 53 batches of Haldiram snacks were rejected by the U.S. due to pesticide presence beyond permissible limits and insanitary methods of production. A batch of Britannia biscuits were rejected due to inadequate labeling of ingredients. In April, Mondelez India’s batch of fruit and nut chocolates were rejected on the grounds that it was produced, processed or packed in unhygienic conditions.

Most of the companies claim that the rejected item were not from plants that cater to the U.S. market. In a few instances, the companies were unaware about their denied entry, since the consignments were not made for US export. Several companies have put forth a defense that the reject batches were not exported by the company itself but by unauthorized exporters. For instance, Britannia has stated that the reject products were not from the registered USFDA factories from India, which meet the stipulated global standards. Companies further explain that the reject batches were grey market exports, exports which are controlled by unknown entities.

Snack RejectsFood safety has gained paramount importance ever since India’s food safety authority discovered impermissible lead and MSG levels in Nestle Maggi. The national food-safety watchdog is on a constant testing frenzy. Everything from ready to eat foods to instant foods sold domestically is being tested. The Indian government has made it clear that food adulteration will be dealt with instantly. But the FSSAI does not actively assess the export quality food products made in India.

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