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05 Oct 2023, 01:56 HRS IST
  • PTI
April 16, 2022

PTI Fact Check:Ingredients list in Haldiram’s packet not in Urdu but Arabic, no animal oil used

Photo Caption: Packet of Falahaari mixture from Haldiram’s : For representational purpose (Source: internet)
 New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Snack food giant Haldiram’s was propelled to a Twitter trend after a TV channel aired a video accusing it of misleading consumers by describing a product's ingredients in Urdu language on its label, and also asked whether animal oil was used.
As the widely circulated clip led to furious discussion on various platforms, a fact check revealed that the script on the “Falhari Mixture” packet is not in Urdu but Arabic, apparently to cater to the export market in Gulf countries. Moreover, the list of ingredients is in keeping with the ‘green’ label on the packet.
Haldiram’s, arguably the biggest brand in packaged snacks, all vegetarian, and also famed for its range of sweets and ‘chaat’, was trending on Twitter earlier this month.
The script on the Haldiram’s packet is in Arabic, confirmed Mahfooz Khan, a professor of Urdu at Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia University.
“The two languages are completely different, they belong to different families of languages. While Arabic belongs to the family of Semitic languages, Urdu is from the family of Indo-Aryan languages,” he told PTI.
“Their scripts are also different, but there are some similarities. That is why people get confused. Arabic is the language spoken by Arabs and Urdu is a dialect of Khari Boli. Urdu appears similar to Arabic because several words in Urdu language are taken from Arabic because of the Quran," Khan explained.
Haldiram’s, like other big brands, including Parle, Patanjali, MTR and Mother's Recipe, sells a wide range of products in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Gulf countries.
All brands wanting to sell in these countries carry a description of the product and ingredients in English as well as the local language, which is Arabic.
Haldiram's ‘Falhari Mixture', consumed by people who fast during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri, too, followed the same format. Those fasting during Navratri do not consume non-vegetarian food.
Khan said the Arabic descriptive is a translation of the English one -- listing ingredients such as “Vegetable Oil (Palmolein Oil), Sugar Powder (6%), Salt (Sendhu Namak), Black Pepper Powder)” and stating in all caps that it contains peanuts.
In the 2.20 minute video, the Sudarshan News reporter is seen asking the Haldiram’s outlet representative what it is trying to hide by using Urdu, what is the “lie” it wants to serve and why the Urdu description is not there in the other packets. She also alludes to animal oil or beef oil in the report.
The Haldiram’s representative in turn asks the reporter why she wants to read only the Urdu descriptive when it is there in English and Hindi as well.
The packet clearly has a green label, indicating the use of only vegetarian ingredients.
Food brands often use local languages on their products to make them more appealing to a larger population. And Haldiram’s, too, looked like it was following that script.
It is not known how a product meant for the export market was being sold from an outlet here.
The company management refused to comment on the issue.
However, a Haldiram’s official said on condition of anonymity: “Haldiram’s also caters to customers in Gulf countries. How can they understand a Hindi script? The packaging has to be in a language they understand.”  
The claim made by the reporter about Haldiram’s packaged snack is ‘false’. 
CLAIM: Haldiram’s accused by TV channel of misleading customers by describing ingredients of its “Falhari Mixture” in Urdu, also asked whether animal oil used.

FACT: List of ingredients not in Urdu but Arabic. List in keeping with ‘green’ label on packet, indicating use of only vegetarian ingredients.

CONCLUSION: Claim made by TV reporter in video about Haldiram’s packaged snack is ‘false’.

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