Other instant noodles, chips in a soup too

Not just Maggi, other instant noodles and popular packed snacks like chips will also be picked up for testing to ensure that consumers get what is promised by companies, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain on Wednesday, explaining that any violations in safety standards on food items had huge ramifications.

“In this case, lead has many adverse health effects even if the level is one unit above the prescribed limit,” the Minister said at a press conference held to announce a 15-day ban on Maggi. Samples of the instant noodles, which were lifted from across the city, were tested at a private NABL-accredited laboratory, he noted.

On how the State Health Department plans to enforce the ban, he said: “There will be a total ban, which will be strictly enforced. In fact, we seek the help of the media to alert us about sale of the noodle anywhere in the city. Our officers will ensure the packets are not sold. We have made it clear to the company that stocks have to be cleared with in the stipulated time frame.”

He said the Health Department wasn’t “blaming the product as such”.

“We are ready to accept that this batch of Maggi doesn’t comply with our safety standards. The company will have to recall this batch and the new stock will be allowed only after testing.”

Meanwhile, other instant snacks too have caught the attention of the government, with Mr. Jain stating they will lift samples of other food products so that “there is no targeting of one product and to ensure that safe food is available to city dwellers”.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) welcomed the food authorities’ initiative in testing processed food for contaminants like heavy metals.

CSE deputy director general head (food safety programme) Chandra Bhushan said: “It’s an issue of public health and public good. Hence, there is no room for compromise. It is great that processed food is being tested for contaminants like heavy metals by our food safety authorities for the first time.”

A CSE research on junk foods in 2012 had found that Maggi noodles had high salt content. A packet contained nearly three gram of salt against the recommended intake of six gram per person per day. CSE programme manager (food safety team) Amit Khurana said: “This means if you eat a packet of Maggi noodles you have to watch your salt intake very carefully through the rest of the day. Consumption of such ultra-processed foods high in salt is associated with increased risk of obesity and diabetes.”

The study had also found that addition of vitamins, as claimed by Maggi, did not make it a healthy food as it has negligible fibres. About 70 per cent of was just carbohydrates. A CSE release noted that unregulated advertising of junk food targeted at children plays a crucial role in building up food preferences among them.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 6:43:18 AM |

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