They say you are what you eat. If that were true, most of us would have been Maggi by now. We all are aware of the scrutiny Maggi is going under for the high levels of lead it contains. But it is not the only product that has been in trouble. There have been similar cases where a food product landed in trouble for some serious, and sometimes some very bizarre reasons.

Here are 12 food brands that got into serious trouble for not living up to quality standards:

1. Nestle was in trouble for unethical publicity of unhealthy baby milk alternatives

Countries- Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand and Europe

The company was accused of selling unhealthy alternatives for baby milk, by using unethical publicity tricks. In 1976, the company won a related lawsuit but had to face a boycott in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

The boycott remains in some parts even though the company claims that the product is fit by every standard.


2. Quaker Oats experimented by feeding radioactive oats to mentally ill kids

Country- US

In 1950, Quaker Oats got involved in what was the most shocking experiment ever. The company along with MIT and Harvard University fed radioactive oats to mentally ill kids for a research. The results of the research were used for an advertising campaign.


3. Kellogg’s recalled 28 million boxes of cereals due to a chemical leakage in 2010

Country- US

In 2010, the company recalled four popular cereals due to a strange ‘smell’ from the packaging boxes, which was due to a compound leakage. These four varieties included in this controversy were Corn Pops, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks and Honey Smacks.


4. Burger King got into trouble when horse-meat was found in its beef samples

Country- UK

In 2013, the leading food chain landed into controversies because its products had horse-meat in UK. The company denied the charges initially but later blamed its suppliers for the fiasco.


5. McDonald’s got into trouble when it served beef flavoured french fries to Hindus in the US

Country- US

A lawsuit was filed against the food-chain in 2010 by a group of vegetarians and some Hindus for adding beef flavouring to its french fries. The practice was later discontinued and the company had to apologize for it.


6. Haldiram’s is in trouble because high levels of pesticides, mold and bacteria were found in its products

Country- US

According to US FDA, products by the company are harmful because they contain high levels of pesticides, mold and bacteria. The report said that Haldiram’s cookies, biscuits and wafers as ‘ filthy, putrid or decomposed- otherwise unfit ‘.


7. Kinder Egg Surprise was banned in the US because it has a ‘ non-nutritive object embedded in it’ which caused choking

Country- US

The US’s 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act contains a section highlighting that a confectionery product with a non-nutritive object, partially or totally embedded within it, cannot be sold within the United States. There were cases of children choking on the toys which is why they were banned for a long time.

8. Tata Starbucks’ 32 ingredients rejected on assessment of risk/safety in India

Country- India

Recently, 32 ingredients of this coffee-chain were ruled out in India. Among the rejects were famous add-ons like caramel sauce and hazelnut syrup. The company said that they can deal with the rejections without any trouble as the replacements have already been found.


9. Cadbury was in trouble because worms were found in their very popular Dairy Milk

Country- India

In October 2003, customers in Mumbai complained about finding worms in Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates. The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration seized the stocks manufactured at Cadbury’s Pune plant. The company had to spend a lot on the packaging and its image to restore what it lost.


10. Pesticides were found in Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo soft drinks

Country- India

In 2006, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were banned across several Indian states after an environmental pressure group said that they found pesticides in drinks produced by the Indian arms of the companies.


And then there was this brand which got into trouble just because of false advertisement. Duh! We all thought we could fly.

11. Red Bull doesn’t ‘give wings’, proved a $13 million lawsuit

Country- US

Benjamin Careathers, a regular consumer of Red Bull sued the company for false advertising, arguing that after 10 years drinking Red Bull, he neither had wings nor any enhanced athletic or intellectual performance. Surprisingly, the company lost and pledged to refund $10 to any US customer who bought the drink since 2002 and agreed to amend future advertising.


In unrelated news, brands are not the only ones attracting trouble. Even our beloved samosa is in trouble in Somalia.

Now the samosa isn’t a brand, but it does have a cult following. We thought it should be added to this list.

12. Samosa was banned in Somalia by an extremist Islamic Group because according to them, it is associated with the Christian Trinity!

Country- Somalia

As ridiculous as it sounds, in 2011, Al-Shabaab , an extremist Islamic group ordered a ban on samosas on a loudspeaker because apparently samosa’s triangular shape is too closely associated with the Christian trinity.


Go, hide and save your food!