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Kerala bans sale of 2 batches of HLL Annapurna salt

Suresh Menon  |  Thrissur 

The director of health services (DHS), Kerala, has banned the sale, distribution and stocking of two batches of the Knorr Annapurna brand iodized salt marketed by (HLL) under section 7 (IV) of the prevention of food adulteration Act.
The order follows complaints of the presence of glass pellets in some packets of Knorr Annapurna brand iodized salt.
A senior official of the Kerala Health Department said food inspectors across the state have also been instructed to search and seize packets of salt of these two batches - T.076 (08/03) and T.977 (08/03) "" and intensify the examination of other batches.
Revealing that the company has been directed to withdraw all the packets pertaining to these two batches from the market, the official said, "A show-cause notice has also been issued to HLL in this connection."
"Company officials personally visited our office and contended that there is no possibility of presence of glass pellets or any other contamination in their salt packets as they have been following stringent quality control procedures with regard to all their products," she added.
When asked what action was being contemplated against the company, she said while the total ban on these two batches would continue till further orders, the next course of action in this regard was being discussed and finalised.
The complaints were registered with DHS by C Mammotti, an MLA from Wayanad.
A senior HLL official that when his executives approached Mammootti and asked for the actual pack in which glass pellets were found, the sample of salt that he provided were not in a Knorr-Annapurna pack but was in an ordinary grocery pack and it contained two pieces of glass of approximately eight mm size.
Maintaining that these glass pieces could have come in externally, the HLL official said, "I once again requested for the actual Knorr-Annapurna pack, which according to Mammotti contained glass, but he did not show the pack at all."
According to the HLL official, Mammootti instead showed another open grocery pack, and claimed that it had glass because the salt was shining.
The HLL representative explained to him that it was not glass which was shining, but it was the purity and whiteness of the salt which he was mistaking as glass particles.
To prove his point, the HLL representative took the same salt (claimed to be containing glass) and ate it in front of Mammotti, thus conclusively showing that it was pure salt.
Reiterating that at all points the samples shown to HLL representatives have been in ordinary household grocery packs and not in Knorr-Annapuran Salt pack, a faxed statement issued by this official said, "Moreover, the glass piece shown to us from the open pack is of a size of 8 mm and cannot pass through the normal factory sieving processes and would have normally resulted in the pack itself getting torn and therefore not saleable in the first place."
The Knorr-Annapurna Salt, marketed in Kerala, is manufactured by Sahayamatha Salt Refineries, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.
The owner of the factory has himself been present at the meetings with Mammootti and has reiterated that the manufacturing processes and quality assurance does not allow any such glass particle to contaminate the product, the statement said.

First Published: Fri, October 31 2003. 00:00 IST