In a big blow to the McDonald’s, the Maharasthra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited American fast food chain from selling Coke Zero across all of its retail touch-points in the state for violating the Food Safety and Standard Regulations. The order was released after the company was found manufacturing and selling carbonated water i.e. Coca Cola Zero in loose and unlabelled disposable glasses. The carbonated water was being prepared from post-mix manufactured by Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages by diluting it with processed water and impregnating the mixture with carbon dioxide. The drink was being served to the customers including children, FDA said in its circular dated March 15.
The artificial sweeteners contained aspartame and accsulfame potassium, which is the main cause to diseases like obesity and higher blood pressure, PTI quoted FDA saying. The FDA action came after a Kolhapur-based FDA official observed that the product was being sold loose to unsuspecting clients, including children. Commenting upon the same, FDA commissioner Harshdeep Kamble said, “We have banned the sale of this drink across all McDonald’s outlets in the state with immediate effect. The drink was being served straight off the dispensing machines without any packaging or warning.” McDonald’s could not be immediately contacted, said PTI.
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After flagging the issue post an inspection, the FDA official then sent a report leading to the inspection of the other outlets where McDonald’s was found flouting norms too. “It could lead to neural damage in those individuals with Phenylketonurics who can’t metabolise amino acids,” added Kamble.
After the incident, FDA has made it compulsory to serve Coke Zero packaged with labels like ‘Not recommended for children’, ‘Contains artificial sweetener’, and ‘not for phenylketonurics’. Explaining the details, Dr Sweta Budyal, Consultant Endocrinologist & Diabetologist(Adult & Paediatric), Fortis Hospital, Mulund, said, “Artificial sweeteners are present in a variety of products, including Diet Coke.There are certain internationally certified limits for them.”