After facing queries from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Tata Starbucks has suspended the use of ingredients not approved by the former in certain products served at its Indian outlets. In a statement, the joint venture company of Tata Global Beverages and Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co said it was “diligently working” with FSSAI to provide the technical information relating to its pending ingredient applications. “In line with the FSSAI guidelines, while we finalise the documentation necessary to complete these applications, Tata Starbucks has initiated the suspension of applicable ingredients from certain products served in our India stores,” it said without specifying the names of these ingredients. Business Standard had reported last week that as many as 32 product applications of Tata Starbucks had been rejected in the first four months of 2015 out of a total of 217 struck down by the FSSAI. The rejected applications of Tata Starbucks included those for praline topping, bar mocha powder, raspberry flavoured syrup, jelly base coffee, tiramisu sauce, mango passion fruit juice blend, French vanilla flavoured sauce, raspberry blackcurrant juice, and decaf espresso whole bean roasted coffee and classic chai (tea) concentrate, international chocolate drink mix, among others. Tata Starbucks’ move comes as FSSAI increasingly cracks the whip on food & beverage companies, the most famous case being that of Nestlé’s Maggi, which found itself in a soup after some samples were found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of lead and mono-sodium glutamate. Nestle has rejected these findings saying its independent tests have suggested otherwise.
In a filing to stock exchanges on Monday, Nestle India said the stocks of Maggi noodles worth Rs 210 crore were being withdrawn from the market and destroyed even as another Rs 110 crore worth of finished and related material stocks remained at its factories and distribution centres.
"These are broad estimates because it is impossible to calculate the final figure while the withdrawal is taking place," said the company.
"There will be additional costs to take into account.
For example, bringing back stock from the market, transporting the stock to destruction points, destruction costs, etc. The final figure will be confirmed at a later date," it said.
"The above, and other unforeseen costs associated with this withdrawal, will be dealt with in line with the applicable accounting standards at the time of announcing the financial results on the due dates," it added.
FSSAI had ordered Nestle to withdraw Maggi noodles a fortnight ago, prompting the Indian subsidiary of the world's largest food company to move the Bombay High Court, challenging the order. While refusing to grant the company interim relief, the court asked the FSSAI and other respondents to give details of the investigation leading to the recall by June 30, when the matter will come up for hearing.