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Perfetti Van Melle, Mars Wrigley seek clarity from Haryana govt over ban on chewing and bubble gums

Last week, the state government’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) banned sale of chewing gum, bubble gum and similar products for three months in Haryana, and also asked local authorities to effectively implement the ban on chewing tobacco products including gutkha and pan masala.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 06, 2020, 04.13 PM IST
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The Gurgaon-based PVM India, the domestic arm of the Italian privately held confectionery maker, said it is in discussions with the FDA authorities “to understand the basis” of the ban.
New Delhi: Confectionery makers including category leaders Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) and Mars Wrigley have sought clarity from the Haryana government over the ban on chewing gum and bubble gums amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

Last week, the state government’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) banned sale of chewing gum, bubble gum and similar products for three months in Haryana, and also asked local authorities to effectively implement the ban on chewing tobacco products including gutkha and pan masala. “Covid-19 also transmits through droplets… there may be possibility of transmitting it by spitting of chewing gum and bubble gum towards another person,” the notification by FDA Haryana says.

The Gurgaon-based PVM India, the domestic arm of the Italian privately held confectionery maker, said it is in discussions with the FDA authorities “to understand the basis” of the ban.

“There appears to be no scientific evidence to support the assertion that Covid-19 is spread through the exclusive spitting of gum. None of the concerned entities has recommended a ban on chewing gum. Nor has any other country chosen to implement such a ban,” PVM India managing director Rajesh Ramakrishnan said. Ramakrishnan said the confectionery maker, which makes Happydent, Big Babol and Center fresh gums among other brands in India, will support the government in educating people about the unhygienic practice of spitting and help in discouraging the same.

The Haryana FDA had banned sale and distribution of scented or flavoured tobacco, gutkha and pan masala last year, though the ban wasn’t implemented effectively. Another government which has banned manufacture and sale of chewing tobacco products is UP.

A spokesperson from Mars Wrigley India, which makes Orbit, Boomer and Doublemint gums, too said it is engaged with relevant authorities on the ban. “We are working closely with local authorities to remain protective of public health,” the spokesperson said. She added the company has been educating consumers about disposing chewing gums responsibly. “This is displayed on every gum pack and we remain committed to spreading awareness about responsible gum disposal,” she said.

The domestic confectionery market is estimated at Rs 12,000 crore, led by PVM.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory that people should avoid smoking, spitting in public places and consuming chewing tobacco products as this could increase risk of spreading the coronavirus infection.

Confectionery makers, on the other hand, expressed concern that a ban in one state could be extended to others next.

(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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