HETAUDA: Unilever Nepal, a multi-national company, has been found to be relabeling, repackaging and selling date-expired tea in Nepal by importing from India.
In this connection, the Hetauda administration has sealed the company’s tea plant in Hetauda-3, Basamadi, after finding the plant relabeling and repackaging date expired tea imported from India.
According to Som Kant Rijal, the Chief of Food Technology and Quality Office, Hetauda, a joint monitoring team comprising local administration, Food Technology and Quality Control office and Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights and other stakeholders conducted a raid in the company’s office on the basis of information that date expired tea was being relabeled there.
The team had found 920 sacks each consisting of 35 kg tea ready for repackaging and more than 3000 sacks of date-expired tea of different other companies meant to be repacked and relabeling during the raid.
According to the monitoring team, the tea leaves produced in 2019 should be used by June 2020.
Basu Prasad Khatiwada of the Consumer Rights Protection Forum labeled the re-packaging of expired tea as a fraud on the part of consumers.
Consumer Rights activists remarked that the act has raised concern over the credibility of the multinational company itself.
The Food Technology and Quality Control Office said the lawsuit was being prosecuted for selling unlabeled, expired products to consumers.
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control has instructed the subordinate office to immediately destroy expired and unlabeled food items.
Earlier, during the joint monitoring held in Makwanpur, expired materials were directly destroyed.
However, the act of sending the date expired materials to the Department for further tests rather than abiding by the Department’s direction has made the consumers skeptical.
Unilever Nepal claims to be a part of millions of Nepalis with 28 different brands ranging from soap, toothpaste to tea.
The company also sells food brands such as chocolates, bath soaps, Horlicks, shampoo, sanitizer among others.