Upset Hindus are seeking official apology from Dutch-British transnational consumer goods company Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman for non-disclosure of beef in some of its products; and immediate recall of all such food items.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking for Hindus to learn that some of the Unilever food products, which they had been eating for years, might contain beef while beef was not explicitly mentioned under the ingredients listed on the boxes/packages.
A response received by Zed to an enquiry from Unilever Corporate Consumer Services on September two via email stated: “Gelatin is made from animal protein. It is used in some of our products to provide a lower fat, lower calorie product with a pleasing texture and consistency. The protein of animal origin is processed according to high standards of purity. It is so highly refined, that it is no longer considered a meat product by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). We cannot guarantee if the gelatin is derived from beef or pork.”
Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism; Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, points out.
It was a very serious issue for the devotees and would severely hurt their feelings when they would come to know that they were unknowingly eating beef-laced popular food products, Zed noted. Unilever “has been in business since the 1880s”.
What happened to the Unilever claim—“We’ve developed a clear and global approach to nutrition labelling, to help people make healthy food choices”—Rajan Zed asked and added that it was hard to comprehend that why Unilever did not mention beef explicitly under the ingredients on the box/package when it was part of the product inside.
Now was the time for Unilever to admit their error of not being transparent enough to mention in clear and simple terms what was inside the box/package so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices, Zed indicated. Moreover, in future, Unilever should explicitly list beef in the ingredients on the box/pack when beef was present in the product, Zed mentioned.
Some of Unilever brands include Knorr, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Blue Band, Becel/Flora, Best Foods, etc., including one carrying the same name as Hindu deity “Rama” (which sells margarine/cheese spreads, cooking fats, cream alternatives, etc.)
Co-headquartered in Rotterdam and London, Unilever, with over 400 brands, claims: On any given day, 2.5 billion people use Unilever products to feel good, look good and get more out of life – giving us a unique opportunity to build a brighter future… Seven out of every ten households around the world contain at least one Unilever product…€52.7 billion turnover in 2016…Unilever United States Inc is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs (New Jersey) and Hindustan Unilever Limited is based in Mumbai (India).
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.