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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

FDA begins destroying Red Bull cans

Mumbai: A week after Red Bull energy drink cans worth Rs 7.45 crore were seized, the Maharashtra food and drug administration (FDA) on Wednesday discreetly launched the biggest-ever exercise to destroy 3.73 lakh cans of the same brand, worth Rs 2.98 crore, seized in 2009. 
    "On October 15, 2009, we seized 3.73 lakh Red Bull cans after it was confirmed that the drink contained more than the permitted amount of caffeine. After a prolonged battle, we got an order in our favour. We have informed the firm and began destroying the cans. We expect to complete the exercise in three days," a senior FDA official told TOI on Wednesday. 
    On the day when the cans were seized, 11 samples were sent to FDA's Pune laboratory to ascertain the quantity of caffeine, said the official. "We found that the drink contained well over 250 to 300 ppm caffeine against the permissible level of 145 ppm. Then we seized Red Bull's entire stock of 3.73 lakh cans from different parts of the state," he added. 
    According to provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the FDA had informed the company that since there was blatant violation of rules, it will destroy the entire seized stock. Against the FDA order, the firm had approached a Bhiwandi court, which had prohibited FDA from proceeding with its proposed action. Subsequently, the FDA moved the Thane sessions court against the Bhiwandi court order. The Thane sessions court on February 2, 2012, upheld the FDA's decision and accordingly, the process of destroying the cans was initiated on Wednesday. "It's a lengthy procedure. The cans will be destroyed mechanically, while the carbonated drink will be treated in an effluent treatment plant. The entire exercise will be undertaken under the supervision of FDA officials," he said. 
    Red Bull has said that since the product is sold in 164 countries, the organization is fully complying with the prescribed regulations in each country. "A 250 ml can of Red Bull contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. On several occasions, Indian authorities have confirmed that the drink is in keeping with Indian laws and regulations and the company was surprised over the Maharashtra FDA's approach," a company official observed.
    Meanwhile, Red Bull said the stock destruction, at present underway at a private facility under the FDA supervision, has nothing to do with the current legal proceedings. It is being voluntarily carried out by Red Bull India as the stock in question has expired. The reason behind the destruction is hygiene and is being done with the knowledge of the courts and with no prejudice to any legal matter. We have specific orders to this effect.

Energy drink cans at a facility in Deonar


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