news Friday, May 22, 2015 - 05:30
Amid concerns over "dangerous levels" lead and presence of MSG in the popular snack Maggi noodles, the Uttar Pradesh food safety body on Thursday said its manufacturer Nestle was asked to recall the said batch.   Uttar Pradesh Deputy Food Safety Commissioner Vijay Bahadur said orders had been issued to Nestle to also "look into the quality" of other Maggi batches, following some samples reportedly testing positive for possessing higher-than-permissible levels of lead and monosodium glutamate.   But strangely Nestle has denied this and claims the recall of Maggi pertains only to a batch that had already passed the "best before" date in November last year, and was sure that it had automatically been recalled.   A statement by Maggi said, "On 30th April 2015 the local authorities in Lucknow asked us to recall one batch of MAGGI Noodles (around 200,000 packs) which were manufactured in February 2014 and had already reached the 'Best Before date' in November 2014. Nestlé India’s current practice is to collect stock that is near 'Best Before date' from distributors/retailers so we are confident that these packs are no longer in the market. The company does not agree with the order and is filing the requisite representations with the authorities. In the meantime it is important to note that there are no other orders to recall MAGGI Noodle products in the market. People can be confident that MAGGI Noodle products are safe to eat."   As regards the batch in question, the Nestle statement said: "Quality and safety of our products are the top priorities for our company," and added: "We have submitted the product samples to an independent accredited laboratory and will share the results with the authorities."   The samples, authorities in Lucknow said, were taken from a lot in Easy Day departmental store at Barabanki, a district on the outskirts of the state capital, last week. But Nestle maintained it was confident over these packs being no longer in citculation in the market.   "The company does not agree with the order and is filing the requisite representations with the authorities."   The state's Chief Food Safety Officer Sanjay Pratap Singh added that more samples had been taken for testing and the teams from the department were asked to track if any Maggi packets from that batch were still in circulation in the market.   "We have asked the UP government for reports regarding the tests (on Maggi noodles). Action will be taken according to what comes out," said Food Safety Authority of India Director Bimal Kumar Dubey. He, however, said no orders to the company had yet been issued from the authority.   On the issue of MSG, Nestle said while it does not add it to Maggi noodles sold in India, and stated that as much on the packaging, the use of hydolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour to make the noodles all contain glutamate.    "We believe the authorities’ tests may have detected glutamate, which occurs naturally in many foods," Nestle said, alluding that it may have been confused with MSG. On lead, it said, regular monitoring that was a part of stringent quality control consistently indicated adherence to permissible limits.     Read- If Maggi has no MSG or lead, why did tests confirm it? An explainer