It seems the Maggi controversy has not only set off alarm bells for the food brands but also the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). FSSAI had recently blacklisted around 500 products, Starbucks which works in partnership with Tata in India, was one of those. Hence, in the wake of the criticism Starbucks has been facing since past one week, it has finally announced the suspension of its blacklisted ingredients.
Along with Starbucks, other brands like a cereal from Kellogg’s, poultry products from Venky’s and even a multivitamin from Ranbaxy and Nutrilite Cal Mag-D from Amway have also been blacklisted.
FSSAI had rejected applications submitted by Starbucks for a total of 32 products on April 30 this year.
A few of the 32 ingredients that didn't get FSSAI's nod are Panna Cotta Pudding, Dark Caramel Sauce with Natural Flavour, Coffee Frappuccino Flavoured Syrup, Vanilla Flavoured Syrup, Hazelnut Flavoured Syrup, Raspberry Blackcurrant Juice, Honey Vanilla Flavoured Sauce, Mango Passion Fruit Juice Blend, Bar Mocha Powder, Tiramisu Sauce, etc.
Post the disapproval of its products, on the behalf of the Starbucks' management, Avani Davda, CEO – Tata Starbucks Private Limited issued the following statement last Wednesday:
Dear Starbucks Customers,
I know that many of you have seen the articles appearing in the press that raise concerns about the safety of products by several brands in the food & beverage industry including Tata Starbucks. Let me take this opportunity to reassure you that all of the products we serve are safe and meet Starbucks and Tata’s global quality standards.
Tata Starbucks is diligently working with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to provide technical information relating to our pending ingredient applications that they have requested.
In line with the FSSAI guidelines, while we finalize the documentation necessary to complete these applications, we have initiated the suspension of applicable ingredients from certain products served in our stores. At the same time, we have initiated our plans for using other FSSAI-approved ingredients that meet Starbucks global standards and enable us to continue offering our range of beverages. These actions ensure that you can continue enjoying the unique Starbucks Experience without disruption. All of our stores are open for business as usual.
It is important for me to emphasize that all of the imported globally standardized ingredients we serve in India, including those we are suspending, are safe and meet the safety standards in over 65 countries where Starbucks operates. All of these imported ingredients received the then applicable product testing and safety authorizations when they were imported into India.
As a premium global retailer, Starbucks has the highest standards for the safety and quality of the beverages and food we offer our customers, and we are committed to complying with the regulations in every market we operate in.
Companies like HUL, ITC and TATA it seems, have learnt from the Maggi fiasco and have controlled the damage before it’s too late. Where Maggi took time to pull out the brand from the mess, HUL withdrew Knorr instant Chinese Noodles as soon as it was tested to have more amount of MSG than the permissible limit.
ITC too sent its product, Sunfeast Yippee, for test and later posted an alert on Yippee's website stating, "Stringent tests are conducted for our food products at ITC's NABL accredited Life Sciences and Technology Centre as well as FSSAI approved, NABL accredited external laboratories. In all these tests, our food products have consistently been found to comply with all regulatory standards."