Policy

Total recall? That’s what Nestle’s staring at with more States banning Maggi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

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Watchdog FSSAI to take call by Monday; rules out audit of Nestle plants for now

Trouble mounted for Nestle’s Maggi noodles on Thursday with Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir joining Delhi in banning the product on safety grounds.

While the Uttarakhand Government has decided to ban the instant noodle brand for three months, Gujarat has banned it for a month. Several other States are still awaiting test results. There are reports that Nepal, too, has decided to ban the import and sale of Indian Maggi.

Wholesalers Walmart India and Metro have also pulled Maggi noodles off their shelves.

“Given … ongoing concerns around this product, we have withdrawn the Maggi 2-minute noodles from our shelves across all 20 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores till further clarity from the FSSAI and State food safety authorities,” said a Walmart India spokesperson.

Other brands under lens

The controversy also threatened to impact other instant noodle brands, with the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) advising States to test samples of all brands in the category in the wake of finding elevated levels of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Maggi.

The FSSAI, which held its Central Advisory Committee meeting here on Thursday, is also expected to decide on a nationwide recall of Maggi on Monday. However, the authority is not likely to push for audits of Nestle India’s factories for the time being, said its Chief Executive YS Malik.

“I have advised States’ food departments to test samples of other instant noodles. Why should we isolate only Nestle,” Malik told BusinessLine. Any decision on a recall can be taken only when reports are in, he added.

The food regulator has so far received test reports from six States: Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Punjab. Reports from Punjab and Madhya Pradesh were found to be inadequate with no quantified parts per million figures.

It also sent Goa’s report back to the State since it had “assumed” different parameters, including that for the level of lead.

“We required quantified data on the lead content but Punjab and MP only put down results as positive or negative. Goa’s report had problems since it tested on parameters different from what we had specified. For instance, they tested lead at 10 ppm in the masala, while the permissible limit is 2.5 ppm,” said Malik.

He said more reports are expected. “We should be able to make a statement by Monday,” he added.

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Published on June 04, 2015
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