Recently, a video circulating on social media raised concerns about the ‘Aashirvaad’ brand of aatta (wheat flour), suggesting it contains plastic. Given the widespread consumption of aatta-based food products, an investigation was initiated following an alert received on our Fact Check number, 8129100164.
The video asserted that aatta poses harm to consumers, particularly children, due to alleged plastic content. A subsequent internet search led to a post on a social media handle (formerly Twitter), claiming that despite the company’s assertion of 0% maida and 100% atta, the batter exhibited rubber-like consistency, accompanied by a video alleging harm from the aatta.
Upon closer examination, it was found that ITC Private Limited, the company behind the Aashirvaad brand, had provided a detailed response in five parts to address the video’s claims.
ITC refuted the allegations, stating that videos circulating on social media suggesting the presence of rubber or plastic in aatta were baseless. They emphasized that such videos aimed to undermine the trust consumers have in the brand.
ITC clarified that the substance in question, often misconstrued as plastic or rubber, is wheat protein, commonly known as gluten. Gluten is responsible for the elasticity of aatta and binds it together.
According to the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, aatta must have a minimum gluten content of 6% on a dry mass basis, as per ITC.
The company assured consumers that their aatta is entirely safe for consumption and adheres to all legal guidelines during its preparation.
Furthermore, ITC issued a warning of potential legal action against those spreading false information, videos, or statements about their aatta.
Additional research revealed a statement from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), affirming the absence of plastic in wheat flour and its safety.
Continuing the search, we found a video posted by the Executive Director of the Protein Foods and Nutrition Development Association of India, emphasizing the presence of gluten in aatta and its importance.
The Executive Director, also a doctor, unequivocally dismissed the allegations against aatta as baseless.
We further consulted officials from the Food Safety Authority and health experts, who clarified that gluten is a natural protein present in cereals like wheat and barley.
They explained, “Gluten is a seed storage protein, essential for bakery items like bread. It provides elasticity to food items and facilitates dough preparation. Except for those allergic to gluten, it poses no health issues.”
In conclusion, the claims in the videos falsely refer to gluten, a naturally occurring protein in cereals like wheat, as plastic. The allegations against aatta are entirely unfounded and misleading.