Latest developments in row over Maggi's food safety

After samples of “Maggi” noodles manufactured in March 2014 were reportedly found to contain high lead content and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), the instant noodles brand in under scrutiny by various state governments and Union Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Swiss giant Nestle on Wednesday said government approved labs have found the newly manufactured samples of instant noodles Maggi safe and the company will start retail sales of the popular snack this month. >Read more

Nestle withdraws Maggi

Nestle India has withdrawn Maggi noodles from sale in India due to “an environment of confusion for consumers”, but continued to maintain it was safe and that it would be back on store shelves soon. >Read more.

What is MSG?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a popular preservative and flavour enhancer, often the star ingredient in many a restaurant-style Chinese meal. "MSG is also found in most packaged foods, from potato chips to soups and canned meats," says Dr Nupur Krishnan. "But it's not always listed as MSG. It can be disguised as 'natural flavoring' or 'glutamic acid'. "

MSG can cause many adverse reactions. Headaches, flushing, sweating, fluttering heartbeats, chest pain, nausea and weakness are all common reactions often known as the MSG symptom complex.

Researchers have established that MSG is often linked with rising obesity rates and inflammation within the body, particularly the liver. Also read: >Poison on your plate

The source of the heavy metal lead in Maggi noodles is most likely soil, say Food Safety officials who investigated the issue. “The lead content was found to be higher in the tastemaker of the product, which contains onions, than in the rest of the product, which led to the inference that the presence of heavy metal in the soil in which these were grown must have led to its presence in the food item,” Y.S. Malik, Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), told > The Hindu .

» As of November 4, > Nestle said government approved labs had found the newly manufactured samples of Maggi safe and that the company would start retail sales of the snack this month.
» In August, the Bombay High Court > lifted the ban on Maggi , setting aside the orders of food authorities.
» In April, the food regulator of Uttar Pradesh, UP FDA had ordered recall of a batch of about 2 lakh packs of the Maggi instant noodles due to higher than permitted levels of lead and food additives.
» No. States conducting tests: 09; No. of States that have banned: 11
» On May 29, taking a “serious” note of quality issues related to global giant Nestle’s famous noodle brand Maggi, the government asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to look into the matter. The FSSAI has collected more samples of Maggi from different states for testing.
» Meanwhile, Hindi actors Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta, who endorse Maggi were served legal notice on the claims made in the advertisement. A complaint was filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barabanki, on May 30, by lawyer Santosh Kumar Singh, saying that by endorsing Maggi the film stars have misled people. The Consumer Affairs Ministry Additional Secretary G Gurucharan says "brand ambassadors would be liable for action if advertisements are found to be misleading.”
» On May 30, Madhuri Dixit tweeted that she met officials of Nestle and the company has reassured that "they adhere to stringent testing for quality and safety and are working with the authorities closely.”
» The same day, the Food Safety and Drug Administration of the U.P. government filed a case against the manufacturing company, Nestle India Ltd., and five others, including the Barabanki store from where samples with excess lead were seized.
» The Uttarakhand Food Safety Department too collected samples of the noodle brand from the company’s plant at Pantnagar in the State. Confirming the presence of MSG, the state banned Maggi.
» Nestle India said it has got tested samples of the noodle brand in an external laboratory as well as in-house and the product has been found “safe to eat” with lead levels within the permissible levels for consumption. The company was, however, silent on presence of the taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG).
» Nestle India's stocks continued to slumpamid growing concerns about safety standards of its popular Maggi noodles. In a BSE filing, the company said it has not received any order from the central or any state FDA authority for recall of its Maggi noodles.
» State-owned retail outlets in Kerala and Delhi have banned the sale of Maggi. Leading retail chain Big Bazaar has also reportedly taken them off from its shelves.
» Army has issued advisory to its personnel asking them not to eat Maggi noodles and directed its canteens not to sell them till further orders.
» Nestle on June 5, said it is withdrawing the product from Indian market due to “unfounded confusions” that has affected the consumer trust, but maintained that its noodles are safe for consumption and has no presence of MSG.
» Singapore and Nepal have ordered local importers to temporarily suspend of the sale of Nestle’s Maggi noodles imported from India.
» Maharashtra Food and Drug Minister Girish Bapat has announced a ban on the sale of Maggi with effect from on Saturday after lab tests proved presence of lead above the permissible level in the samples tested.
» A day after banning Maggi noodles, food safety regulator FSSAI on Saturday said it will test samples of instant noodles across brands to ensure food safety.
» On Sunday, Karnataka government banned the manufacture and sale of maggi noodles and Goa also followed suit by banning the product.

States that have banned Maggi

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 1:01:36 AM |

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