Confronting the Reality of Food Poisoning: An Open Letter to Prime Minister Modi

On March 1, 2024, I purchased three packets of Patanjali Noodles for my children, hoping for a wholesome and safe meal option (as advertsied by the company. Regrettably, soon after consuming the noodles, my daughters experienced severe stomach pain and vomiting sensations, necessitating urgent medical attention in the wee hours of the night. Despite our initial belief that such symptoms might be attributed to other factors, this distressing incident has recurred, affecting all three of my daughters in a similar manner.

Following the distressing incident, I promptly raised the matter with the Consumer Helpline authority, seeking intervention and justice for my children’s suffering. In response, I received assurances from Patanjali that they were conducting a thorough investigation into the matter. However, my hopes for accountability were dashed when subsequent communications from the company declared their internal investigation had concluded, deeming the food safe. With this dismissive response, it seemed that once again, the voices of concerned consumers had been silenced, perpetuating a cycle of impunity and neglect in addressing such critical food safety concerns.

Dear Prime Minister, I write to you today with a heavy heart and a sense of urgency that cannot be overstated. Our nation is facing a crisis of food safety that demands immediate and decisive action from the highest levels of government. The recent findings reported by Indian government officials, revealing that almost a quarter of food samples tested did not meet our country’s food safety standards, are deeply troubling and indicative of a systemic failure that imperils the health and well-being of our citizens, especially our children.

As a concerned citizen and a parent, I cannot remain silent in the face of such egregious negligence. The prevalence of food products dangerous, particularly for children, on the Indian market is nothing short of a national tragedy. Brands like Patanjali, which wield significant influence and power, have been implicated time and again in cases of food adulteration and contamination, leading to countless cases of illness and even death among our youth.

It is unconscionable that in a country as vast and diverse as ours, where millions of families struggle to put food on the table, the very sustenance meant to nourish our bodies and minds is tainted by greed and disregard for human life. The fact that such incidents continue to occur with alarming frequency speaks to a failure of governance and regulatory oversight that cannot be ignored.

The statistics paint a damning picture of the magnitude of this crisis. Thousands of children across our nation fall ill or lose their lives every year due to the consumption of unsafe food products. These are not just numbers; they represent precious lives cut short, dreams left unfulfilled, and families torn apart by preventable tragedy.

As a leader entrusted with the well-being of our nation, you have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us. Yet, by turning a blind eye to the rampant violations of food safety standards and the impunity with which unscrupulous actors operate, you are complicit in perpetuating this cycle of suffering and death.

It is not enough to simply offer condolences to grieving families or to rely on internal investigations conducted by the very entities implicated in these crimes. We demand accountability, transparency, and meaningful action to address the root causes of this crisis and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

Prime Minister, the time for empty promises and half-measures has long passed. The lives of millions of children hang in the balance, and we cannot afford to wait any longer for meaningful change. I implore you to heed the cries of the people and to take decisive action to overhaul our food safety infrastructure, strengthen regulatory enforcement, and hold accountable those who prioritize profit over human life.

The future of our nation depends on it.


Preeth Padmanabhan Nambiar