The food safety watchdog has taken more samples of Maggi noodles across India for testing after certain harmful substances were allegedly found in a batch in quantities higher-than-permissible-limits, the government said on Monday warning that violation of standards will make even brand ambassadors liable.
“We understand that consumers are concerned by reports that the authorities in Uttar Pradesh have found elevated levels of lead in a sample pack of Maggi noodles. We are fully cooperating with the authorities who are conducting further tests and we are awaiting their results,” Nestle India said in a statement.
“FSSAI (Food Safety Standards Authority of India) has taken up the case. It will take action. We have already written to the FSSAI,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said at a press conference here on Monday.
He did not elaborate.
Clarifying the matter, Consumer Affairs Additional Secretary G. Gurucharan said the food safety authority had taken some samples across India for testing. This was after allegations were made over “dangerous levels” of some substances in the popular snack Maggi noodles in Uttar Pradesh.
“Some reports are expected today and within two-three days we will get complete reports. All parameters are being tested,” Gurucharan said, adding: “If there is any violation, FSSAI will take action.”
The company said it has submitted samples of Maggi Noodles from almost 600 product batches to an external laboratory for independent analysis and it tested samples from almost 1,000 batches at its accredited laboratory.
“These samples represent around 12.5 crore packets. All the results of these internal and external tests show that lead levels are well within the limits specified by food regulations and that Maggi noodles are safe to eat. We are sharing these results with the authorities,” the company stated.
Asked for his comments on Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit being served notice by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Uttarakhand for endorsing Maggi noodles, Gurucharan said the brand ambassadors will also be liable if advertisements were found to be misleading.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Food Safety Commissioner Vijay Bahadur had said on May 21 that orders had been issued to Nestle to “look into the quality” of batches of Maggi noodles after some samples were reportedly found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of lead and monosodium glutamate.
The samples, authorities in Lucknow said, were taken from a lot in Easy Day departmental store at Barabanki, a district adjoining the state capital, in the second week of May. But Nestle said it was confident these packs were no longer in circulation in the market.
“We regularly monitor all our raw material for lead, including testing by accredited laboratories which have consistently shown levels in Maggi Noodles to be within permisible limits,” the company said.
“In addition, we remain committed to continuing to improve the quality of agricultural raw materials across the food chain, working with farmers, suppliers, the authorities and the food industry to ensure food safety,“ it said.
“The quality and safety of our products are the top priorities for our company,” it added.
The company also sought to dispel rumours that orders had been issued to recall all batches of Maggi noodles. In an e-mail statement to IANS, it said the batch in question had already passed the “best before” date in November last year and was sure that it had automatically been recalled.