India recalls unsafe instant noodles from shops

NOODLES. photo; wikimedia

NOODLES. photo; wikimedia

Shops and markets in India on Wednesday withdrew a popular brand of instant noodles after tests showed the product contained high levels of lead and monosodium glutamate, a flavour enhancer.

India’s Federal Food Safety Authority ordered all states to conduct tests on the Maggi brand noodles.

“If the contents are found to be injurious to health, then we will definitely take action,’’ Food Minister Ram Paswan said.

The snack food has been at the centre of a controversy after tests in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh last month found the noodles to have higher than permissible levels of lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).

Shopkeepers in New Delhi and other major cities said sales of the product manufactured by the India subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle SA had plummeted over the past few days.

“We have stopped stocking it because government tests have found Maggi unsafe for consumption,’’ a shopkeeper in the eastern metropolis of Kolkata said.

“”I have asked my children to stop having the noodles, we are not going to consume Maggi if it is harmful,’’ Delhi-based businessman, Pawan Bhutani said.

The southern state of Kerala also stopped sales of Maggi at more than 1,000 government stores until tests could be completed.

However, Nestle denied that the noodles are unsafe or unhealthy.

It said it had carried out tests on samples that showed lead within limits.

A company spokesman said no MSG was added to noodles sold in India, but the product glutamate occurred naturally in other ingredients used.

In more trouble for the makers of the product, authorities in southern Tamil Nadu state were investigating a complaint from a resident.

The resident had alleged that he found larvae in a packet of baby formula.

A court in the eastern state of Bihar also ordered that a complaint be filed against Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit for endorsing the brand.

Maggi noodles are a favourite snack of Indians and are widely sold throughout the country.

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