India in stranded booze fiasco

25th June, 2014 by Neal Baker

Over a million bottles of Scotch and wine are being piled in Indian warehouses as a months-long squabble over labelling between importers and customs officials continues.

Customs officer imports exportsThe Wall Street Journal reports that late last year the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India began impounding hundreds of shipping containers of imported food and alcohol because they failed to comply with the country’s strict regulations.

With the food by now having been shipped back or left to rot, the booze is all the remains in custody in two giant warehouses in Delhi and Mumbai.

The reason that customs are giving is that the imported drinks do not give detailed ingredients on their labels.

This means that unless an imported bottle of Scotch lists water, malted grain and yeast as its components, it will be seized.

It is estimated that at least 50 containers of drinks have been stranded since these labelling rules – which had been an unenforced law since 2011 – were suddenly imposed on imports last year.

Importers are having to cancel their orders in fear that their stock will meet the same fate, and there are concerns that small-scale importers and retailers will be forced out of business unless the problem is resolved.

A Food Safety and Standards Authority spokesperson said that importers were given two years to comply with the new rules. “The traders and exporters must realise that if the rules are there, they must be respected,” they continued.

Spirits importers contend that the label requirements are unnecessary and near-impossible to follow.

“They rejected a shipment of champagne because it did not say wine on the label. Prosecco was sent back because it said ‘made in Italy’ in Italian, not English,” said a wine importer who did not want to be named.

They went on to question the expertise of the customs officials, saying: “One inspector accused an importer of adulterating wine after finding traces of methyl alcohol in a bottle, but methyl alcohol is a natural byproduct of the wine-making process.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

PR Account Executive

Clementine Communications Ltd
Fulham, UK

PR Senior Account Manager

Clementine Communications Ltd
Fulham, London

Marketing Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, N7, UK

Brand Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, N7, UK

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Marketing Manager

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Regional Sales Manager – Scotland

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more