In a perfect case of twisting facts and making fools of people who don’t read beyond headlines, Twitter was abuzz with the #PatanjaliMisleadingConsumers tag for some time before it was taken down. On the 1st of December, 2016, Haridwar’s additional district magistrate, found Patanjali Ayuveda company guilty of “releasing misleading advertisements by selling certain products with its labels although they were being manufactured by some other firm.” Yes, you read it right – it was guilty of releasing misleading advertisements. But the way it was presented, it seemed that Patanjali was fined for sub-standard quality. The case against the company had been filed in November 2012.
What actually happened was that Patanjali Ayurveda sells products manufactured by other companies, with the Patanjali products brand name. Many consumer products are manufactured by one company and marketed by another. This is done for various reasons like saving costs, availability of raw materials, skilled labour, etc. For example, Nivea deodorant is manufactured by M/s Vanesa Cosmetics, H.P. but marketed by Nivea India Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai. Similarly L’Oreal Hair Serum is manufactured by Naxpar Pharma Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai or by Pritam International Pvt. Ltd. but marketed by L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai. What Patanjali has not done is that it has not mentioned the manufacturer’s name in its labels & only mentioned that it is marketed by Patanjali Ayurveda. So the products were found to be in violation of sections 52-53 of Food Security norms and section 23.1 (5) of Food safety and Standard (packaging and labelling) regulation. The fact is that all companies who put the names of the actual manufacturers put it in such small fonts, that nobody reads it. Everybody buys products because of brand recall.
In July, Advertising Standards Council of India or ASCI had pulled up Patanjali for running “misleading” ad campaigns which disparage competitors’ products. The Consumer Complaints Council or CCC had found that Patanjali’s claim for its ‘Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil’ that rival makers are selling mustard oil “adulterated with oil made by solvent extraction process with neurotoxin containing Hexane”, was not substantiated. Patanjali had made claims in its advertisement for Patanjali Fruit Juice that rival brands were expensive and contained less pulp. In the ad for cattle feed ‘Patanjali Dugdhamrut’, Patanjali claimed that “other companies mix 3 % urea and other non-edible things in their cattle feed.” Now I want to know what were other watch bodies doing when Colgate first said that our ‘Daatoons’ or ‘Charcoal based toothpowders’ were harmful for our teeth? And now when they say that Salt and Charcoal is good for our teeth who is substantiating these claims? Is the Consumer Complaints Council doing any research to figure out whether these claims are true? NO !!! When Horlicks or Cadbury says that their products make children stronger & more intelligent, do they give any proof? NO !!!
While I do agree that Patanjali Ayurveda needs to have strict quality controls in place and sell good quality products, smear campaigns by the Multinationals and Media is not a good thing. People need to be aware of this. The fact is that all FMCG companies which were fooling Indians are running scared now that Patanjali Ayurveda has captured their markets in a span of less than 10 years. The fact is also that they know that Baba Ramdev’s connect with the masses is so strong that any product that Patanjali puts out into the market is lapped up by consumers. Therefore they work hard with the media in tow to present a bad picture about Patanjali Ayurveda’s products. They are not bothered about the consumers or their health … they are only worried about the health of their balance sheets. Jai Hind !!!