A message is about a leading food trade organisation, HMA Agro Industries, processing and exporting cow meat from India is going viral on social media.
The claim also adds a communal narrative to it by selectively naming of the promoters of the company, including Wajid Ahmed, Gulzar Ahmed, Mohd Mahmood Qureshi, Mohd Ashraf Qureshi, Zulfiqar Ahmed Qureshi and Parvez Alam.
What's the truth?: The PR Communications team of the HMA Agro Industries clarified to us that the organisation does not process or export cow meat as it is illegal in Uttar Pradesh.
We also checked on the website of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which comes under the Government of India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and it states that HMA Agro only indulges in different types of buffalo meat exports.
How did we find out the truth?: We checked HMA Agro's website and found that the organisation handles food and agro products including frozen fresh deglanded buffalo meat, prepared/frozen natural products, vegetables and cereals.
We also reached out to PR team of HMA Agro group who confirmed to us that they do not export or indulge in cow meat export, as claimed.
While dismissing the claim, they said, "This claim is absolutely wrong. HMA Agro Industries is a highly regulated business with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and APEDA authority. We do not indulge in illegal cow meat exports."
What about the 'promoters of the company' mentioned in the claim?: We checked HMA Agro's website for the Board of Directors and found several other names including the ones mentioned in the claim.
The viral claim excludes other names from the list, like Amit Goyal, Gaurav Rajendra Luthra and Vishwambharan.
The company's representative also stressed that pointing only specific names is baseless as these people are involved in the business just like other people whose names are not mentioned in the claim.
We also checked APEDA's website: We came across a list of 'Integrated Abattoir cum meat processing plants' approved by APEDA from 2 June shared by the body.
The list included HMA Agro Industries' name and did not mention anything about cow meat.
The products associated with the group included chilled boneless bufffalo meat, chilled buffalo offals, frozen bonelesss buffalo meat and frozen buffalo offals.
We have also reached out to APEDA for comments on this claim, the story will be updated once we receive a response.
Cow slaughter for meat is illegal in India: In majority of the states in India, slaughtering of the cow and its progeny along with the consumption of their meat is banned.
However, Kerala, West Bengal and some Northeastern states permit cow meat.
Conclusion: Viral claims about HMA Agro group exporting cow meat are false.