June,3,2015: Big Bazaar outlets pull out Maggi noodles; Meghalaya likely to join bandwagon.
Delhi Government has banned sale of Maggi noodles for next fifteen days following the product testing positive for lead content exceeding permissible limits.
The state government maintained that the company has been asked to recall all the existing packets of the product in the market and has been warned that it would be “allowed back in only after a review.”
Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday the state health minister Satyendar Jain said that the case falls under the category of misbranding and action will be initiated against Nestle for selling unsafe product and a fine maybe imposed it for misbranding.
“We are also not satisfied with the explanation given by the Nestle officials this morning during our meeting with them and have instructed them to replace the stocks,” he noted.
The Delhi Government maintained that 10 out of 13 samples tested for high lead content while five samples were found to have high levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG).
“Of the samples we lifted 10 packets of Maggi had lead content beyond the prescribed limit of 2.50 ppm. On an average the lead content was found to be 3.5 ppm,” said the health minister.
With concerns rising over the safety of the two-minute noodles, Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, against whom a Bihar court has ordered registration of an FIR after he was featured in their advertisements, said he will cooperate with “what the law says” though he hasn’t received any notice in connection with the product that he “stopped promoting” two years ago. Actors Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were also named in the FIR.
The Union government referred the Maggi issue to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to take appropriate action even as more states — Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal — lifted samples for tests.
However, in some good news for the Swiss multinational, a Goa official said lab tests of samples of the noodles taken in the state have not shown any traces of the flavour enhancer MSG and lead.
On Tuesday, the Delhi government had said that it found samples of Maggi noodles “unsafe” for consumption as it contained lead beyond the permissible level in Maggi masala (tastemaker).
A Future Group spokesperson said that in the interest of consumer sentiment and concerns the retail major has taken Maggi noodles off the shelves from all its stores for the time being. “We will wait for more clarity from authorities to take any further course of action,” the spokesperson said.
Modern retail outlets like Big Bazaar run by the Future Group contribute a large chunk of sales for FMCG firms, including Nestle.
“The samples (of Maggi) which were drawn from state’s markets did not have any ingredients which are harmful,” said Goa Food and Drug Administration’s Deputy Director, Jyoti Sardesai.
She said the samples were taken from the market and also from the North Goa-based Nestle factory.
“The (results of) tests for monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead (have) come negative. The samples were produced (for testing) in Goa and in Punjab facility,” Mr. Sardesai said.
Maggi noodles has been at the centre of a raging storm after UP FDA tests found higher than stipulated levels of lead and MSG in it.
However, Nestle India claimed it has got samples tested in an external laboratory as well as in—house and that the product was found “safe to eat”.
Meghalaya likely to ban ‘Maggi’
Meghalaya government said it was likely to ban sale of ‘Maggi’ noodles in the state if the samples tested positive for overdose of monosodium glutamate and lead in the popular snack.
“We’ll consider banning this (Maggi) product in the state if the samples sent for testing are positive for overdose of monosodium glutamate and lead,” state Chief Secretary P B O Warjri told PTI.
He said an official order in this regard would be served after the veracity of the dispute was resolved.
The state’s food safety office has already sent at least nine samples collected from the Maggi depot at Mawblei in the city outskirts to the Guwahati-based Public Health Laboratory last week.
“We are waiting for the reports and necessary actions will follow based on the outcome of the reports of the samples,” Food Safety Assistant Commissioner D.B.S. Mukhim said.
She said the food safety office in the state had issued an advisory for people to avoid consuming the product pending an outcome of the report from the laboratory.