A day after the reports emerged that the Ministry of Defence's canteen stores department suspended the sale of Patanjali Ayurved's amla juice after receiving an adverse state-laboratory report, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved said its amla juice is a medicinal product and is safe for consumption.
It was reported that the CSD's decision to remove amla juice from all its depots was based on the report given by the Central Food Lab in Kolkata that found it to be 'unfit for consumption'.
However, Patanjali Ayurveda has now clarified that its amla juice is an ayurvedic medicine and test on it should be conducted as per the norms of the AYUSH ministry. The Ayurved firm said norms prescribed by the country's food regulator - Food Safety and Standards Authority of India - were not applicable to the juice.
Speaking to the Mint on the issue, Patanjali Ayurved spokesperson said: "It comes under the purview of the Ministry of AYUSH. The test conducted by the Central Food Laboratory in Kolkata was done following the standards set by FSSAI. Our amla juice is a medicinal product and is safe for consumption."
The spokesperson further said: "We have also written to the CSD explaining this. Patanjali amla juice will be back to CSD shelves soon."
Earlier on Monday, the Economic Times reported that after the lab report was declared, the CSD asked all its depots to make debit notes for their existing stock so that the product can be returned.
Another report by PTI said that the CSD had sent a show cause notice to the company to examine the 'deviations' and explain about them. The CSD had sent samples of Amla Juice having index number 85417 and batch number GH1502 to the laboratory in Kolkata.
The latest development could hurt the Patanjali's image as its amla juice was the product that helped it strengthen its foothold in the Indian consumer market. This is the second time when a Patanjali product has come under scanner.
Last year in December, a local court in Haridwar slapped Patanjali Ayurved's five production units with a fine of Rs 11 lakh for "misbranding and putting up misleading advertisements" of their products.
Patanjali Ayurved was found guilty of misbranding as the products being shown by the company as produced at its own units were in fact manufactured somewhere else.
A case had been filed in the court against the company in 2012 by the District Food Safety Department after samples of mustard oil, salt, pineapple jam, besan and honey produced by Patanjali had failed quality tests at Rudrapur laboratory.