Indian FDA seizes Unilever tea products over antioxidant claims

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Red Label: Seized over medicinal antioxidant claims
Red Label: Seized over medicinal antioxidant claims
The Indian Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seized nearly 17,000 packets of a Unilever red tea product for making non-approved antioxidant claims.

The FDA raided a Hindustan Unilever facility after the company failed to act on warnings about the claims being made for its Brooke Bond Red Label tea, according to Indian press reports.

Assistant commissioner of food at the FDA, GH Rathod, said Unilever had been warned about the claims in December, 2010, but the seized products had a manufacture date of February, 2010.

"We gave enough time to the company to withdraw the stock from the market or remove the claim from the packets,”​ Rathod said.

“We took action only after Brooke Bond failed to comply with the directives. In fact, the company had given an undertaking to the state FDA commissioner to withdraw the stock."


The products made the claim that they were, “a rich natural source of antioxidant flavonoids that protect cells and tissues in your body'.”

One of the inspectors told The Times of India​: "The claim is misleading for the consumers. The company can face prosecution under section 389 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act of 1955 as it implies to a medical claim."

Hindustan Unilever was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

The company website states: “As well as excluding anything that appears to condone over-consumption in our marketing, we also prohibit anything that undermines the promotion of healthy, balanced diets and lifestyles, or misrepresents snacks as meals. We will also make sure that any claims made in our marketing about any of our products are supported by scientific evidence.”

It notes that one of its Red label products is a, “a health and immunity variant”.

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