How safe is ‘fresh and juicy, mango Frooti?’


How safe is ‘fresh and juicy, mango Frooti?’

Mumbai: Anil Patel, 35, a resident of Walkeshwar in South Mumbai, purchased a bottle of mango Frooti on July 7, from a mall in Navi Mumbai. He was shocked to find a front half of a dead lizard in the bottle. He has sent a written complaint letter to Parle Agro, the manufacturer of ‘Frooti’. He also sent a registered complaint letter to the Kharghar Police station and the consumer court.

Patel has also registered a complaint with the Food and Vegetable Preservative (FVP) Department in relation to the foreign object in the Frooti bottle on July 27.

S. Kumar, Dy Director, FVP said “ We have received a complaint from Patel yesterday, and he has given us a sealed bottle of Frooti with a foreign object, but I will only comment on the matter after laboratory tests are done.”

According to Patel, he had gone with few of his friends to Pune. On his way back, they stopped at a mall at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai on July 7. He purchased two bottles of Frooti (‘fresh and Juicy mango Frooti’ of Parle Agro) at 1.30 that afternoon. He was thirsty and drank one of the Frooti.

When he reached his house at Walkeshwar, the same evening, he kept the other bottle of Frooti in his refrigerator. The next day, when he opened the fridge and removed the Frooti, he realized, there was a dark creature floating in the bottle. Patel says, “When I took a closer look, I was shocked to find a dead, half, lizard. I live with my parents and younger sister, and my elder sister’s, 7 year old son, Jatin Prajapati. What if he drank the Frooti without realizing there is a lizard in it? I tried to make a call to the company, but had to wait as it was a weekend and the office was closed. How can the company be so irresponsible? I spoke to Umang Bhavsar at the customer care department at Parle Agro and have sent an email to the company on Monday, 11 July.”

On Monday July 11, Umang Bhavsar, Customer Care Officer and Pushpashil Naik, Quality Control Manager of Parle Agro were contacted on phone by
Bhavsar, said,”We have received the complaint by Patel. The Senior Management of the company have been informed about the issue. Naik said, “It is next to impossible to find a lizard in a Frooti bottle. We take all the necessary precautions and assure best quality products.” When he was asked, how come there is a lizard in the Frooti bottle? He said, “He has not seen the bottle and without seeing the bottle, he would not like to comment.”

Patel, on Tuesday, July 12, said “Mr.Naik, and his colleague Mr. Dinesh Shetty, Sales Manager Parle Agro had come to meet me at my office in Marine Lines, South Mumbai. They have seen the bottle. They insisted I should hand over the bottle to them but I haven’t given the bottle, as I wanted to register a complaint with the Food and Vegetable Preservative Department against Parle Agro for being extremely irresponsible. The Department should take serious action against Parle Agro.”

On Tuesday, July 12, Parle Agro was contacted again. Naik did not reply and Shetty said he did not wish to comment and someone from Parle Agro will revert.

Later the same evening an email was sent by the PR company of Parle Agro and the quote was attributed to Rajendra Kale, Head Quality Assuarance, Parle Agro.It stated, “Going by our manufacturing process, it is next to impossible for any such thing to get into the bottles. The moment we heard that a customer had found a dead lizard in a Frooti bottle, we immediately sent our team to check and investigate the bottle in question. However, we could not obtain the bottle to investigate but could only see it from a distance, making it absolutely impossible for us to come to a conclusion. We’re also investigating the place from where it was sold. We are more than willing to take anyone to our production facility and show how the products are manufactured and how it is impossible for a lizard to get into the bottle.”

When Patel was asked if it’s true that Naik and Shetty saw the bottle from a distance, he denied and said it was completely wrong for Parle Agro to make such a false statement. He added, “After seeing the bottle from a distance of one foot, they even pointed at the lizard but denied it’s a lizard .They were sitting in my office for more than three hours and insisted that I hand over the bottle. I wanted to keep the bottle as I wanted to register a written complaint at FVP department. I have made the complaint on 26 July at the FVP department.”

Shirish Deshpande, Chairman, Grahak Panchayat, Mumbai said, “The incident is shocking. It is an act of gross negligence on the part f Parle Agro Ltd. It clearly shows lack of quality control.” He further added the consumer has done the right thing by showing the Frooti bottle to the company representatives and not parting with the bottle as that’s crucial evidence. The bottle should be handed to Food and Drug Administration Department for further investigations.”

Natasha Sehgal

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