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Spurious raw material worth Rs 1 crore seized

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

The adulterated shampoo is sold to beauty parlours at discounted rates

Officers of the Food and Drugs Administration recently raided three places in the Western suburbs and seized spurious shampoo and related raw material worth over Rs one crore and detained three persons for interrogation.

During the raid, it was revealed that the spurious shampoo was being refilled in recycled bottles of 'L’Oreal', at Yamunabai Chawl, Andheri East. The bottles packed with spurious shampoo worth Rs 40 lakh and raw material worth Rs 3.38 lakh, of the shampoo was seized. In a simultaneous raid on a room at Sethia Nagar, Pol Chawl No.2, Saki Naka, Andheri East, raw material worth Rs 90 lakh was seized and Pujari was taken into custody. In a third raid, raw material worth Rs 4.88 lakh was seized from D’Souza Chawl, located at Vile Parle West and Henry D'Souza was detained. The FDA officers also detained Khingar Ravaria, involved in refilling and repacking the shampoo for selling online through his trading company Bio Cosmetics. The raid was conducted by the officers under the direction of Joint Commissioner Arjun Phadtare.

Surprisingly, the FDA officers had booked Henry D'Souza, after raiding his first floor workshop located at D'Souza Chawl on September 13 last year and had seized machinery and goods worth Rs 18 lakh including empty bottles of L’Oreal Professional hair colour cream, Matrix shampoo, L’Oreal Diactivateur, a machine that churned out liquid shampoo, and a stirrer. A FIR under Section 27(A) of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, was also registered against Henry, at Juhu police station. The accused Khingar Ravaria, engaged in sourcing out semi-finished products like shampoo, cream, ointment, oil and other products of the reputed brand and refilling them was interrogated earlier.

FDA recorded nine cases of spurious cosmetics sale in 2016 and seven cases in 2017. They included a seizure of fake cosmetics with Rs.1.8 crore from a shop in Bhuleshwar, South Mumbai. The laboratory analysis of the products showed that variation in PH levels and hydrogen peroxide could cause mild to severe skin irritation and varying levels of hair loss.

However, the business of recycling goes on unabated. In the process, a recycled bottle of L’Oreal shampoo is bought for Rs.3, from four Dharavi-based garbage dealers, who network with beauty parlours to purchase empty bottles. Then the raw material including hydrogen peroxide, fragrance and active ingredients are procured from dealers in Mumbai. The shampoo is then manufactured and refilled in washed bottles.

About 5-10 ml of the original shampoo is added to the top to give an authentic fragrance, before the bottles are resealed and sold to parlours at discounted rates.

Since 2016, L’Oreal has seized seven lakh fake units of their brands from the Indian market and has filed cases against counterfeited cosmetic units for Intellectual Property Rights violations. The FDA prosecutes them, under Section 27 (A) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, for spurious cosmetics sale, which attracts fine of Rs.50,000, and imprisonment for three years.

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