Companies

Wai Wai, Smith & Jones caught in Maggi tangle

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

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Entire instant noodles market comes under the scanner; probe to be widened to pasta, macaroni brands too

As a fall-out of Nestle’s Maggi muddle, the entire instant noodles market is now under the scanner. From Monday, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to widen the probe across all noodle, pasta and macaroni brands.

Already, the Tamil Nadu government has, besides Maggi, decided to recall Wai Wai Xpress Noodles, Reliance Select Instant Noodles and Smith & Jones Chicken Masala Noodles for three months.

GP Sah, CEO, CG FOODS, makers of Wai Wai noodles, told BusinessLine, “We have received the intimation from the Tamil Nadu government regarding the recall of one variant of our noodles —Wai Wai Xpress Noodles.”

This is one of the five variants that Wai Wai has in the market. “But, we are still awaiting additional details from the Tamil Nadu government about the test methodology or how high are the lead limits that have been found in this variant as well what batch of our noodles were tested. We have started to recall the variant from the Tamil Nadu market; we will be further investigating into the matter,” he said.

‘Open to tests’

Wai Wai Xpress Noodles come in the white noodle category, the same category that Maggi noodles are positioned. He said the company is open to any tests from the government authorities.

“This is a setback for the entire instant noodle category and will definitely impact the growth of the overall category,” he said. He did not give specifics on how many packets of Wai Wai Xpress Noodles, the company was recalling from the Tamil Nadu market. The instant noodles market is pegged at ₹3,800-4,000 crore and growing at 10-15 per cent year on year.

Smith & Jones Chicken Masala Noodles are made by Capital Foods which is also the maker of Ching’s Secret. When contacted, Ajay Gupta MD Capital Foods said, that the company has not yet got the formal intimation from the Tamil Nadu government.

“We will look into the matter. We are confident about the safety of our product and in fact last week had conducted tests on our products,” he said adding that instant noodles is not the company’s core business and is just one segment of the entire product portfolio.

Meanwhile, key retailers across the country have already withdrawn Maggi off their shelves and others are in the process of doing so after the nationwide ban on the product. Reliance Retail on Friday decided to temporarily withdraw all instant noodle products from its shelves. More States like Goa have joined in banning Maggi.

Awaiting intimation

A senior executive with a Delhi-based retail chain said. “We haven’t got any notification from Nestle India yet on the procedure of the recall. On our own, when we had contacted Nestle India officials, they said they will pick up the stocks from us this week.” On the issue, of whether consumers can return their Maggi Noodles packs, Nestle India on its Website has said, “If you are in India and you have a concern about a pack you have purchased, you can contact our consumer services. They will give you the information you need.”

Nestle India has also said that it currently exports small quantities of Maggi noodles to the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore and Kenya.

But UK’s Food Standards Agency has said that following the incident in India, it has decided to test for levels of lead in few samples of Maggi Noodles as a precaution. Reports have also emerged that Singapore has asked importers to temporarily suspend sale of Nestle Maggi noodles imported from India.

Published on June 07, 2015

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