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Ants in bottle of honey: Dabur told to give Rs 50,000 in legal aid account, pay Rs 35,000 to complainant

The complainant MS Nagi, a resident of Sector 30 Chandigarh, said he bought a Dabur Honey 50-gm pack from a local chemist shop.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has penalised Dabur India and asked it to deposit Rs 50,000 in the consumer legal aid account after insects were found in a bottle of honey produced by the company. The forum has also asked the company to pay Rs 35,000 to the complainant on account of unfair trade practice.

Pulling up the company for denying the product was manufactured by them, the forum observed, “The sequence of events of the present case clearly establishes the high-handedness of the company… As a result the complainant has been left with no alternative, except to knock the doors of this forum… On this account, we deem it proper to penalise the company for indulging in such activity, thereby causing not only loss, mental agony and physical harassment to the complainant, but also giving rise to undesirable litigation and thereby wasting the precious time of this forum.”

The complainant MS Nagi, a resident of Sector 30, said he bought a Dabur Honey 50-gm pack from a local chemist shop. The bill, dated August 22, 2014, came to a total of Rs 30.

Later, he found the product to be ant-infested, and approached the chemist shop, but it refused to take back the product and instead instructed the complainant to approach the manufacturing company. Eventually, the complainant served a legal notice, dated September 22, 2014, to the company and shopowner, but the same failed to fructify.

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The complainant then filed a consumer complaint and alleged that the aforesaid acts amounted to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on the part of the opposite parties.

The company, in its reply, pleaded saying the bottle purchased by the complainant was not manufactured by it and the bill produced by the complainant was not genuine.

It denied that the bottle of honey contained insects (ants) and claimed the product went through stringent quality control and conformed to all the prescribed standards of manufacturing and packaging.

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It also claimed that there was no deficiency in service on its part and asked for dismissal of the complaint.

The owner of shop Gosai Medicos, Sector 27, said that the shop was a retailer and the honey in question was obtained from C L Traders, Sector 24-D, Chandigarh, distributor – Dabur India Limited, manufacturer – Dabur Company.

The honey was sold to the complainant in a sealed condition – a manufacturing defect for which the shopowner could not be held responsible.

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The complainant had also written an application for sending the sealed bottle of honey to the Government Food Analysis Lab for examination and a report on it which was not opposed by the respondents. Accordingly, the bottle was ordered to be sent to the Public Analyst, Government Laboratory, Sector 11, Chandigarh.

The food analyst had opined, “From examination of the sample herein referred to and the result obtained by analysis, I am of the opinion that the contents of the sample contain abundance of dead insects (ants). Hence unsafe for human consumption. The seal(s) affixed on the container of the sample was/were found intact on arrival and tallied with the specimen impression of the seal separately sent by you.”

First published on: 07-04-2016 at 04:03 IST
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