Indian FDA seizes Unilever tea products over antioxidant claims

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Red Label: Seized over medicinal antioxidant claims
Red Label: Seized over medicinal antioxidant claims
The Indian Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seized nearly 17,000 packets of a Unilever red tea product for making non-approved antioxidant claims.

The FDA raided a Hindustan Unilever facility after the company failed to act on warnings about the claims being made for its Brooke Bond Red Label tea, according to Indian press reports.

Assistant commissioner of food at the FDA, GH Rathod, said Unilever had been warned about the claims in December, 2010, but the seized products had a manufacture date of February, 2010.

"We gave enough time to the company to withdraw the stock from the market or remove the claim from the packets,”​ Rathod said.

“We took action only after Brooke Bond failed to comply with the directives. In fact, the company had given an undertaking to the state FDA commissioner to withdraw the stock."

Medicinal?

The products made the claim that they were, “a rich natural source of antioxidant flavonoids that protect cells and tissues in your body'.”

One of the inspectors told The Times of India​: "The claim is misleading for the consumers. The company can face prosecution under section 389 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act of 1955 as it implies to a medical claim."

Hindustan Unilever was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

The company website states: “As well as excluding anything that appears to condone over-consumption in our marketing, we also prohibit anything that undermines the promotion of healthy, balanced diets and lifestyles, or misrepresents snacks as meals. We will also make sure that any claims made in our marketing about any of our products are supported by scientific evidence.”

It notes that one of its Red label products is a, “a health and immunity variant”.

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4 comments

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Food Nazis

Posted by banh,

This is not about truth, these actions by global governments against food companies are nothing short of corruption. There is a global movement to eliminate a person's right to treat themselves with herbal and native remedies.

Do you see any pharmaceutical companies raided for misrepresenting harmful drugs which kill patients through side effects? Of course you don't... the bribes paid to government through the legislative systems keep the food and drug Nazis away from pharmaceuticals. The herbal market will be wiped out by the corrupt CODEX system if consumers and herbal businesses don't stand up to this corporate/government crime. Are you going to be able to afford your prescription ginger and garlic? They will be controlled substances when the maniacs get done.

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FDA action against Hindustan Unilever is unjustified

Posted by Anil Kumar Singh,

Hindustan Unilever's Red Lable Tea claim that they were, “a rich natural source of antioxidant flavonoids that protect cells and tissues in your body", is absultly true as the Tea (Camellia sinensis) infusion is characterized by a high content of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are a large group of phenolic products of plant metabolism with a variety of phenolic structures that have unique biological properties and may be responsible for many of the health benefits attributed to tea. Many in vitro studies show that the flavonoids present in tea have strong antioxidant and metal-chelating properties and may therefore protect cells and tissues against free oxygen radicals. A large number of studies support the hypothesis that oxidative damage to DNA, lipids and proteins may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

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FDA action against Brooke Bond unjustified

Posted by Jayesh Chaudhary,

“a rich natural source of antioxidant flavonoids that protect cells and tissues in your body'.” Seems like a harmless claim. Any type of tea is known to contain flavonoids that have antioxidant activity that protects against cell damage due to free radicals. With whatever information is known through this article, it appears that Indian FDA's action against Unilever is unjustified.

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