The Advertising Standards Council of India has again pulled up the high profile Guru turned businessman Baba Ramdev for several misleading claims in the advertisement of his various products. It had earlier rapped this Guru for similar false misleading advertisements which not only made hard to believe claims for his own products but also disparaged the goods of other companies.
ASCI ruled that ads by the Haridwar-based FMCG company “unfairly denigrates” other products in the market. Patanjali was castigated for misleading ads of hair oil, mustard oil and washing powders.
Patanjali Kesh Kanti Natural Hair Cleanser & Oil’s advertisement’s claim, that “mineral oil is carcinogenic in nature and may cause cancer” was false and misleading by ambiguity and by gross exaggeration,” said ASCI. The company’s Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil advertisement’s claim that most of the other edible refined oils and mustard oils are made using neurotoxin Hexagon solvent extraction process, as many companies mix cheap palm oil in mustard oil, to make profits at the cost of consumers’ health, was also not substantiated and was misleading, ASCI added.
Similarly, for its Herbal Washing Powder, Cake and Dishwash Bar, the claim of “herbal washing powder, cake and dishwash bar” was not substantiated with data regarding which herbal ingredients in the product provide the cleaning benefit and was deemed misleading by ASCI.
Besides, Patanjali also failed to substantiate its claims for Patanjali Fruit Juice, where it had claimed rival brands as “expensive juices containing less pulp”.
According to the regulator, the ad was accompanied by reference to the prices of other branded juices and “by implication unfairly denigrates the entire class/category of fruit juices”.
Similarly, it also failed to substantiate its claims in the ad for cattle feed ‘Patanjali Dugdhamrut’ as “other companies mix 3 to 4 per cent urea and other non-edible things in their cattle feed.” ASCI also held Patanjali Ayurved’s ads for toothpaste ‘Patanjali Dant Kanti’ as misleading as it did not substantiate claims of it being effective against pyorrhoea, swelling and bleeding of gums, yellowing of teeth, sensitivity and bad breath and provides a natural shield against germs.
This startling and unnerving Guru also filed a complaint in the high court against the ASCI claiming that it has no powers to admonish him.
However, in December 2016 a court in Uttarkhand’s Haridwar ordered Patanjali Ayurveda, a product promoted by Baba Ramdev, to pay Rs. 11 lakhs fine within a month for ‘misbranding and putting misleading advertisements’ of products. The case was filed against the company by the Food Safety Department.
A case had been filed in the court against the company in 2012 by the District Food Safety Department after samples of mustard oil, salt, pineapple jam, besan and honey produced by Patanjali Ayurveda had failed quality tests at Rudrapur laboratory.
The products were found to be in violation of sections 52-53 of Food Security norms and section 23.1 (5) of Food safety and Standard (packaging and labelling) regulation.
And yet this very controversial aggressive Guru whose business has to pay up Rs. 11 lakhs as a fine, for violating food safety and standards, regulation and also for failing quality tests at a laboratory, is making a huge fuss about taking the ASCI to court! Eerie. When Gurus mix preaching and business, food and meditation, something seems to have gone off!