On July 17, right-wing influencer Madhu Purnima Kishwar tweeted shared a screenshot of confectionary company Cadbury’s website. The screenshot stated, “Please note, if any of our products contain gelatine in the ingredients, the gelatine we use is halal certified and derived from beef.”

In her tweet, Kishwar wrote that Cadbury deserves to be “sued for forcing Hindus to consume halal-certified beef products”. The screenshot was also tweeted by RSS member Rajesh Gehani. These tweets gained over 3,000 retweets.

BJP supporter Arun Pudur also amplified the claim. In the past, he has shared misinformation on multiple occasions.

Similarly, many Twitter and Facebook users have shared the screenshot and expressed concern about Cadbury products in India allegedly containing beef.

Screenshot of Cadbury Australia circulated in India

A closer look at the viral screenshot reveals that it is Cadbury Australia and not India. The text in the viral image about gelatin, if present in products, being halal-certified can also be found verbatim on the Cadbury Australia website.

A day after Kishwar’s tweet, Cadbury India responded via its verified account @DairyMilkIn, “The screenshot shared in the Tweet is not related to Mondelez/Cadbury products manufactured in India. All the products manufactured and sold in India are 100% vegetarian. The green dot on the wrapper signifies that.” The account also clarified to multiple other Twitter accounts including Kishwar.

Alt News checked multiple Cadbury products listed on Amazon India and food delivery platforms but couldn’t find any product without a green dot — identifier of vegetarian products. The following screenshot shows the product details of Cadbury Bournville Cocoa Dark Chocolate.

Understanding the green indicator

As per Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and labelling) Regulations, 2011 (view PDF), under Nutritional information sub-head, “Every package of Vegetarian Food shall bear a declaration to this effect by a symbol and colour code as stipulated below for this purpose to indicate that the product is Vegetarian Food. The symbol shall consist of a green colour filled circle.”

The act also defines vegetarian food as, “any article of Food other than Non-Vegetarian Food as defined in regulation 1.2.1(7).” The specified definition (view PDF) of non-vegetarian food states, “an article of food which contains whole or part of any animal including birds, freshwater or marine animals or eggs or products of any animal origin, but excluding milk or milk products, as an ingredient.”

In 2019, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) sought action against food products including drugs and health supplements, which contained ingredients of animal origin and were depicting green dot on their package labels. This was reported by Mumbai-based FnBnews and the article was uploaded by FSSAI on its website.

Readers should note that no companies were named in the said report. FSSAI instructed respective state authorities to take action as per Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.

Cadbury has been targeted with misinformation in various countries in the past. In 2017, Alt News debunked the claim that Cadbury products were contaminated with HIV.

To conclude, several right-wing influencers shared a screenshot of Cadbury Australia’s website and claimed that the company was selling products with beef in India. Last week, the Himalaya Drug Company was similarly targeted.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.