Food Adulteration Officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have seized huge stocks of three leading brands of energy drinks, collectively worth around Rs 2. 64 crore, from Mumbai and Pune. The move comes close on the heels of recent amendments to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Most of these drinks are sold in pubs and bars. As per the amended guidelines which came into effect from March 19, the caffeine content in energy drinks must not be more than 200 parts per million.
FDA’s joint commissioner (vigilance) R K Sahay told TOI that the caffeine content in two energy drink brands was about 300 parts per million. “This exceeds the permissible limit,” Sahay said. According to FDA officials, the high caffeine content not only made the energy drinks addictive, but also resulted in sleep deprivation among consumers. “We have been receiving complaints about these drinks. Many youth have become addicted to such energy drinks and we are concerned about their health,” said Suhas Chaudhari, joint commissioner (greater Mumbai), FDA. Most of the youngsters belong to the upper class and spend anything between Rs 80 and Rs 150 per can,” he said adding, “We are also verifying the claims made on the labels of these cans. ” Even though most of the energy drinks claim to be made using vegetarian ingredients, FDA officials have found taurine (an organic acid which can be found in the intestine) in one energy drink. “We are now trying to verify if taurine was derived from a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian source,” said Chaudhari. Godowns storing energy drinks are being raided and stocks are being sealed, said Sahay. We have taken samples and sent them for testing in our labs. Once the final results are out, we will take necessary action,” he said. This can mean suspension of licence, prohibition to stock goods as well as prosecution. So far, raids have been conducted on godowns in Pune, Panvel, Worli, Andheri and Powai. The FDA will continue to conduct raids for the next few weeks. Meanwhile, the Vikhroli office of Nouveaw Exports Private Limited was raided by the intelligence branch of the FDA for manufacturing without a valid licence. The company’s factory is located in Pawane village of TTC industrial in Navi Mumbai.
The company used to manufacture and sell Simethicone USP, Activated Dimethicone IP and Simethicone Emulsion 33% WW to pharmaceutical companies. The raid was carried out on March 31. “The firm used to send samples to the Public Testing Laboratory for test and analysis,” said Sahay. After getting the report, said Sahay, officials of the firm used the loan licence number of Ambernath-based unit, Amber Chemicals, to sell the products in the market. Sahay said the FDA has taken three samples and seized drugs worth Rs 17 lakh for violating section 18 of the Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1940.