After Patanjali Honey and Cow Ghee, Soan Papdi Fails Food Safety Test

Patanjali's Soan Papdi Fails Food Safety Test, Leading to Legal Consequences.

I vividly remember the days when many Indians would rub their nails, believing it would control hair fall and promote new hair growth. This practice has no scientific basis, yet many followed it because a so-called Yoga Guru, “Ramdev” (real name RamKisan Yadav), promoted it on national television. In the 17 years since, not a single person has grown new hair from rubbing their nails, but Baba Ramdev, who began as a yoga teacher, transformed into an entrepreneur with a turnover of 40,000 crores in 2022. He founded an FMCG company, Patanjali Ayurveda, in 2006. By 2014, he was also promoting Narendra Modi, the current Prime Minister of India, promising that petrol prices would drop to Rs 30 and gas to Rs 200 if Modi came to power. These claims were nothing but empty promises.

Under the Patanjali brand, he promoted the slogan “Desi Apnao” (Use Domestic Products) and launched hundreds of products, including toothpaste, ghee, noodles, honey, sweets, and more.

I personally used Patanjali toothpaste for a few months before noticing that my teeth were turning yellow. I switched back to my favorite, Colgate. About 10-12 years ago, someone informed me that Patanjali Ghee was actually produced by another company and simply rebranded by Patanjali. My parents, who were fans of Ramdev, replaced all their household products with Patanjali items, including Amul Ghee and Colgate toothpaste. Despite my warnings, they continued to use Patanjali products for many years. Like my parents, many Indians started using Patanjali products.

Patanjali Products vs Food Safety Tests

After Patanjali Honey and Cow Ghee, Soan Papdi Fails Food Safety Test

However, as the saying goes, there is always light after dark. 2014 was a challenging year for Baba Ramdev; he faced legal issues, and many Patanjali products, including Patanjali Honey and Soan Papdi, failed forensic tests. On April 13, 2024, the court of the Additional District Magistrate in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, delivered a verdict on a case involving the substandard quality of Patanjali’s packaged honey, nearly four years after the initial inspection. The case, dating back to July 2020, raised concerns about the quality of Patanjali Honey. The Food Safety Department collected a sample of packaged Patanjali honey from M/s. Gaurav Trading Company in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, which was then sent to the Rudrapur Government Laboratory for testing. The inspection revealed that the honey did not meet the standard quality requirements.

The primary issue was the excessive amount of sucrose in the honey sample, which was more than double the permissible limit. Instead of the standard five percent, the sample contained an alarming 11.1 percent of sucrose, raising serious concerns about the product’s authenticity and safety. Consuming excessive sucrose can lead to several serious diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, inflammation, gout, hormonal imbalances, pancreatic cancer, and more.

In August 2022, Patanjali’s ‘pure cow ghee’ failed to meet food safety standards in a test conducted by the food safety department. The sample of Patanjali’s ‘pure cow ghee’ was collected from a shop in Tehri, Uttarakhand, and was found to be adulterated and potentially harmful to health.

On May 20, 2024, Patanjali officials were sentenced to six months in prison along with two others after the company’s ‘soan papdi‘ failed a food test. Forensic testing of the samples was conducted on May 18, 2019, and notices were issued to the company’s head office in Haridwar and the Ramnagar-based Kanaha Ji Distributor. Following the failure of their packaged soan papdi, three men associated with Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali brand were jailed, according to a report in the Times of India. The order was passed by Pithoragarh’s chief judicial magistrate. One of the convicts, Abhishek Kumar, is an assistant manager with Patanjali. Quality concerns over the Patanjali soan papdi were first raised in 2019 when a food safety inspector visited a shop in Pithoragarh’s Main Market in Berinag. The product in question was Patanjali Navratna Elaichi Soan Papdi. Forensic testing was conducted on May 18, 2019, followed by notices to the company’s head office in Haridwar and Ramnagar-based Kanaha Ji Distributor. The lab report, submitted to food safety authorities in December 2020, confirmed the substandard quality. Subsequently, cases were filed against distributor Ajay Joshi, Kumar, and businessman Lila Dhar Pathak. The court sentenced Joshi, Kumar, and Pathak to six months each, with fines of Rs 10,000, Rs 25,000 respectively. “The evidence presented in court clearly demonstrated the substandard quality of the product,” stated a food safety official.

In the last three months, two Patanjali products have failed tests, and the court has fined them accordingly.

In an ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court of India, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, its Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna, and co-founder Baba Ramdev faced the court on April 2 in a contempt case over the publication of misleading medical advertisements, violating an undertaking given to the Court. Both Balkrishna and Ramdev were present following a directive issued on March 19. The case originated from a petition filed by the Indian Medical Association against Patanjali’s advertisements, which attacked allopathy and made claims about curing certain diseases. The Division Bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, had previously issued a Contempt notice on February 27 to Patanjali Ayurved and its MD, noting the company’s continued dissemination of misleading advertisements despite assurances given to the Court. The case arose from concerns about a smear campaign orchestrated by Ramdev and Patanjali against the COVID-19 vaccination drive and modern medicine.

This is just the beginning; there will likely be more occasions when each of Patanjali’s products will fail in food quality tests and Baba and his company will be penalized.


Hey this is Dev... (Devender). Living as a nomad without savings or a permanent home brings me joy. Each day, I embrace More »

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