This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhishek Jha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Half The Snacks USA Blocked From Entry This Year Are From India, And ‘Filthy’ Is A Reason

More from Abhishek Jha

By Abhishek Jha:

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore has allowed India manufactured Maggi to be sold in markets, reports said, after it declared it to be free of health risks. While Nestle has hired APCO Worldwide for rebuilding its image and is seeking a judicial review and revocation of the orders of food safety regulators banning Maggi in Maharashtra , it was interesting to note a Wall Street Journal article highlighting what the United States’ FDA found in Indian snacks.

FDA

Some number crunching done by WSJ found that “half of all the snack products that were tested and blocked from sale in the U.S. this year were from India. Indian products led the world in snack rejects last year as well.” FDA’s import refusal report which lists among other things the name of the manufacturer, the place of manufacturing, and the charge(s) for refusal, is likely to ruffle snacks consumers in India if the response to the Maggi fiasco is anything to go by. While Haldiram’s snack products had the highest refusals among snack products between January and March 2015, Bikaji, Bikanervala Foods Pvt. Ltd., Jhaveri Industries of Badshah Masala fame, Hindustan Unilevers Ltd., Britannia, MDH Ltd., Adani Food Products Pvt. Ltd., Heinz Pvt. Ltd., and Mother Dairy are some of the popular manufacturers whose products- ranging from whole grain, bakery products, and snack food items to spices, flavors and salts were refused by the FDA. Some of these products had a labeling problem or did not mention their ingredients properly, while others contained pesticides, were sometimes charged as simply “FILTHY”. Some of these were rejected for containing Salmonella – whose permissible limit in India too, as per Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, is very small – which Mayo Clinic says can cause “diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within eight to 72 hours.”

A high concentration of lead can cause serious troubles and authorities are always likely to crack down on lead exceeding permissible limits. However, the case of MSG is different. It is usually considered safe (although it can lead to health problems in the long run) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has limits prescribed for it (in the list of permissible limits of MSG) only for table olives and frozen fish fillets. That’s why perhaps the FSSAI, Bengaluru Centre, is confused whether to suggest a ban because it found lead content to be well within the permissible 2.5 ppm. Maggi defended itself by saying that it does not add MSG, although naturally occurring MSG might be present. An Economic Times article said, and it appears, that FSSAI had only “admonished the company for labeling the pack with the line ‘No added MSG'”.

However Maggi fares in the long run, we Indians do need to discuss what the implications of our fast food and snack habits can be. It is already said in media that big multinationals adhere to the strict regulations of developed countries while food products containing contaminants or excessive additives are shipped to developing countries. Take for instance MSG, which is popularly known as ajinomoto. It is a flavor enhancer and can make inferior quality food taste better. There is profit to be made there and it is probably being made, that too, at the risk of the health of the people of developing countries. “Chinese” and other foreign noodles are already being smuggled to the North Eastern states, a report in the Hindu said.

It is imperative then that regulatory bodies buckle up. Limiting this to Maggi or Nestle would be a short-sighted measure and would hardly do anything for the general health of the nation. A senior-vice president at Haldiram’s defended his company saying that “a pesticide that is permitted in India may not be allowed there (the U.S.)”. But given the response to MSG in Maggi, perhaps the regulatory bodies may want to re-consider what they allow and what they don’t in our food. Pesticides have no business inside human bodies whether Indian or American.

You must be to comment.
  1. Rohan

    It’s not only about MSG, it’s about lead and Maggie has become a household staple food for kids.
    There’s got to be a start. If it’s Nestlé. …so be it….the rest need to fall in line. Who needs statistics from a country like USA who has f_ _ _ed up food universally. Genetically messed up meat. …..that’s all Americans eat. The country has the highest chronic diseases but the US FDA is zip shut because of the amount of jobs the screwed up meat sellers create. What about just few months ago Subway was caught using more than needed chemicals in their bread which are used to make Yoga Mats softer.
    So what’s the point of this article? Should food with lead be fed to kids and Indian Army just because it’s a 64 billion dollar company? What’s the damn point? Why can’t one appreciate a start in a country like India? If US is still battling after having a ‘so called’ system in place, imagine how much ground a 3rd world country has to cover. If India took the initiative what’s wrong? Somehow many of my Indian American friends would rather bat for Nestlé then for India. All their lives they keep on criticizing the corruption in India and now if things are changing, it’s still a part of corruption. Pathetic!!!!

  2. Isabel Ortman

    Great Article. suggestions . I loved the analysis – Does anyone know if my company might be able to access a template a form version to edit ?

More from Abhishek Jha

Similar Posts

By Pallabi Ghosh

By Basanta Nirola

By Ritwik Trivedi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below