GUWAHATI: Energy drinks of various brands from neighbouring Bangladesh, suspected to contain banned ingredients and illegally exported by traders from across the border, are flooding markets in the northeast, West Bengal and Odisha.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which lays down food quality standards and regulates manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale and import of food, has recalled several Indian energy drinks from the market in recent years.
According to a source, Bangladesh-made energy drinks worth Rs 2 to 4 crore enter the country every month via the India-Bangladesh border points at Sutrakandi in Karimganj district of Assam, Akhura in Tripura and Siliguri in West Bengal.
These energy drinks are suspected to have obtained certificates from private laboratories in Kolkata and Agartala, but not from FSSAI. Bangladeshi energy brands like Power Energy Drink, Bullet Energy Drink, Tiger Energy Drink and Akume Extra Power have flooded markets in Arunachal, upper Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Odisha.
The FSSAI notification on energy drinks states, ‘Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages containing caffeine, guarana, glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng, inositol, carnitine, B-vitamins and so on which act as stimulants. These drinks contain a high level of caffeine which stimulates the nervous system. They are marketed to young adults and manufacturers compare their effects to the use of drugs like cocaine’.
The FSSAI had issued alerts to state governments against the sale of such drinks without its permission. The state’s food analyst has also issued advisories to customs superintendents of Sutrakandi and Dawki (Meghalaya) asking them to not issue clearance to non-food products without approval. According to FSSAI rules, all non-food products need product approval under Section 22 of the FSS Act, 2006.