New Delhi: Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain has announced an immediate “15-day ban” on sale of Maggi noodles and has asked Nestle, which manufactures the snack, to recall current stocks from the capital in that time and make available new stock, which will be allowed on shelves only after proper checks. The Indian Army, too, has issued an advisory asking soldiers to avoid Maggi.
- Mr Jain, who met Nestle officials on Wednesday morning, said he was “not satisfied with their response.” The Delhi government has said that 10 of 13 packs of noodles it tested were found to have high lead content.
- The minister said the state government is now ordering tests on all brands of noodles.
- Maggi noodles is under country-wide scrutiny for high content of lead and mono-sodium glutamate or MSG, a taste enhancer. Soon after the Delhi government’s move, Uttarakhand, too, ordered a ban on the sale of the noodles till further notice. Many states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have said they are testing the noodles.
- Kerala had, on Tuesday, ordered a pullout of Maggi noodles from about 1,300 government-run outlets till there was clarity on quality. On Wednesday, tests by food safety officials under the Health Ministry showed permissible levels of lead, though the results of their MSG test is still awaited. A test by the Food and Civil Supplies Ministry is also awaited. The ministry is the final authority in deciding further course of action.
- Goa’s Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) too has said that the Maggi noodles samples it tested were found to be safe for human consumption. It said the samples tested negative for MSG and lead content.
- Shares in Nestle traded almost 10 per cent lower on Wednesday. Analysts say Maggi noodles contributes over 20 per cent to Nestle’s revenues in India and a ban on the product could cause a huge dent in the company’s bottom line.
- “If the contents are injurious to health and there are complaints, then action will definitely be taken against the company,” said Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food.
- The West Bengal government said it has ordered tests on Maggi noodles as well as on popular snacks manufactured by other companies. “We had also got complaints about Kurkure and Lays so we are getting those tested as well,” state Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pande said.
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has, in a letter, meanwhile advised all state governments to test samples of Maggi noodles, which has been caught in controversy since laboratory tests ordered by Uttar Pradesh food inspectors allegedly found eight times as much lead as permissible.
- Nestle India has said its tests show Maggi noodles is “safe to eat”. It also said it has not received “any orders from any State/Centre FDA authorities to recall MAGGI Noodle products in the market except an order from the Uttar Pradesh FDA dated 30.04.2015 asking us to recall a batch of MAGGI Noodles manufactured in February, 2014”.