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Traders associations prepare for multinational soda ban in Tamil Nadu

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tamil nadu Food preservation

© iStock
© iStock
An industry group and a trades union have backed a ban on beverages made by multinational companies in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, signalling possible trouble for PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

The giant Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu union has said it will prohibit the sale of Pepsi and Coca-Cola products by its 6,000 affiliated member associations and a claimed 2.1m members, from March 1. 

The state’s traders' federation, meanwhile, will stop the sale from January 26. Together they control retail business in a state of 78m, and their stance on the ban is reportedly backed by the majority of traders.

Beforehand, the bodies would spend February “educating traders and consumers about these foreign brands​,” said AM Vikramaraja, president of the TNVSP.

The Tamil Nadu Traders Federation has already sourced doctors, nurses and healthcare specialists to brief the public on possible healthcare problems by drinking sweetened drinks.

They cause more harm than good to the body. Only recently, one of the brands admitted to the fact that it was not suitable for children and that it contained certain harmful chemicals​,” Vikramaraja said. 

The associations have been raging against the likes of PepsiCo for decades, but have never been able to find a means to prevent their sale in favour of local offerings.

But now they believe they have public opinion behind them after American animal rights group Peta called for a ban on Jallikattu, a traditional local sport similar to bullfighting, swelling widespread rage in the state.

"Protesters have said that they will not consume any soft drinks manufactured in the US. Therefore, as a sign of respect to Jallikattu protesters, we have decided to ban the sale of Pepsi and Coca-Cola in Tamil Nadu​,” said Vikramaraja last week.

The TNVSP has ramped up its rhetoric recently by accusing PepsiCo and Coca-Cola of robbing farmers of water sources by diverting supplies to their factories.

"Pepsi and Coca-Cola are taking water from Thamirabharani river in Tirunelveli because of which farmers have no water for irrigation​.”

The local press has been speculating that the ban could cause the losses of trade worth INR80bn-100bn (US$1.2bn-1.5bn) to Coca-Cola and its fellow multinationals.

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Arjuna launches natural preservative for chilled meat

India natural ingredients major Arjuna Natural Extracts has launched a natural, formulation-specific preservative designed to increase the shelf life of chilled meats.


The difference centres on the synthetic preservatives commonly used in chilled meats, which contain nitrates. These can generate nitrosamines—chemical compounds suspected of increasing cancer risk. 

While some of the volatile nitrosamines formed during curing process with nitrates have mutagenic activity—a high price paid for controlling the growth of yeast and mould—Arjuna claims X-tend’s natural formulation can replace chemical nitrosomyoglobin-forming preservatives while being non-carcinogenic and safe to use in chilled meat. 

We conducted a number of bench trials to measure how X-tend performs in chilled meat preservation​,” said Benny Antony, joint managing director of Arjuna. 

The excellent results encouraged us to offer this new, powerful natural preservative formulation to meat manufacturers. It’s a new, clean way of preservation that also can help differentiate cured meat products in the marketplace​.”

The biggest challenge in replacing synthetic preservatives involves flavour masking—or blocking unwanted flavours—while creating the right functional mix of natural ingredients to combat a range of microbial activities. 

X-tend’s formulation provides a natural solution for a variety of problems typically encountered in chilled meat products, including microbial spoilage, oxidative rancidity, short shelf life, off colour and altered flavour. 

It retains natural colour and freshness, and extends chilled meat shelf life by up to 15 days, the company said.

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