Chennai: Soft drink major Pepsico was slapped with a fine of Rs 35,000 by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (South) for manufacturing and selling a soft drink containing a ‘Mentos’ wrapper. The Food Analysis Laboratory, Kings Institute Campus, Guindy held that the soft drink was adulterated and unfit for consumption.
In the petition, P. Sakthivel of Chepauk submitted that he was a regular customer of products manufactured by Pepsico. On June 23, 2011 he purchased a Pepsi 200 ml bottle for Rs 9 from a bakery on Harris Road. After purchasing the soft drink, on inspection, he found Mentos (mint chocolate) wrapper floating inside the sealed bottle. He complained to the bakery owner, who in turn, alerted the Vice President of Pepsico Holdings India Private Limited, Mylapore, Marketing manager, Pepsico India Marketing Company, Wellington Plaza, Anna Salai and Assistant Manager Maintenance, Pepsico India Holdings Private Limited, Mamantur, Maduranthagam.
The foreign body - Mentos wrapper - inside the bottle would be hazardous to health if consumed along with the drink. Hence, he issued notice on June 25, 2011. The bottle was sent for chemical analysis and scientific report to the Food Analysis Laboratory, Kings Institute Campus, Guindy. The institute, in its report, stated that the sample was found to contain foreign matter - “mint chocolate mintos wrapper” - and soft drink was unfit for consumption and deemed to be ‘adulterated’.
He said act of the Pepsico amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice which caused him great mental agony. Hence, he sought a compensation of Rs 1.20 lakh from the firm.
In his reply, VP of Pepsico Holdings India Private Limited, Mylapore, Marketing manager, Pepsico India Marketing Company, Wellington Plaza, Anna Salai and Assistant Manager Maintenance, Pepsico India Holdings Private Limited, Mamandur, stated that Sakthivel was making a false allegation. The soft drinks are manufactured after thorough inspections crossing several stages before delivery. It was clear that the complainant had not suffered any loss or injury and the alleged drink in the bottle was not consumed.
The bench comprising president M. Mony and member R. Baskarkumaravel said in the Food Analysis Laboratory, Kings Institute Campus also confirmed that the soft drink was contaminated and unfit for consumption. Hence the forum directed Pepsico to pay Sakthivel a compensation of Rs 35,000 for causing him mental agony.