Lonavala’s Maganlal Chikki ordered to stop production, sale over food safety violations

Lonavala's Maganlal Chikki ordered to stop production, sale over food safety violations
Despite having a turnover of around Rs 100 crore, Maganlal Chikki neither had its own laboratory to test the food items nor was it getting the products tested at NABL (Picture: Justdial)

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Lonavla-based chikki manufacturer ‘Maganlal Chikki’ to shut shop for alleged violation of food safety norms at its manufacturing and packaging units.

The hill station of Lonavala in Pune district is known for its chikki, a popular confection mainly made from groundnut. Maganlal Chikki, which has dozens of outlets there, is among the biggest manufacturers of the sweet.

Food officers from FDA’s Pune branch raided Maganlal Chikki’s plants on December 11, during which they found that the company was violating several provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSSA).

Among them was their failure to implement quality control and send products for testing, all of which are mandatory given the firm’s Rs 100 crore turnover.

“We found the company neither has its own laboratory to test the food items nor was it getting the products tested at NABL, a lab approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI),” said FDA joint commissioner Suresh Deshmukh.

The company also did not have an expert person for supervising the production, he claimed.

“It was also found that conditions at the plant were unhygienic, so we served them a notice to stop the production and sale of food items,” he said.

Until the company complies with the norms it will not be able to restart the production, he said, adding that they might have to pay a penalty of Rs 2 lakh and brace for additional action if they continue selling any product without FDA approval.

Downplaying the incident, the owner of Maganlal Chikki, Ashok Agarwal, said the notice was of “technical nature” and had nothing to do with the quality of its food products.

“We have already started complying with all the norms and we are sure the production will restart soon,” he said.

The century-old company has halted production and distribution of chikki for now and is hopeful of restarting operations in a week’s time with permission from the FDA.

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