Nestles’ Maggi noodles unsafe for human consumption

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Authorities in the Indian capital, Delhi, say that samples of Maggi noodles collected from shops contain high levels of lead.

This came weeks after food inspectors in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh recalled a batch of the noodles from shops for the same reason.

Maggi, the two-minute instant noodles, are hugely popular in India.

A number of states are testing the noodles. Nestle India has denied that their noodles are unsafe or unhealthy.

Maggi noodles has been at the centre of a controversy since laboratory tests on two dozen packets in Uttar Pradesh last month found lead nearly seven times the permissible limits and excess levels of MSG.

The Delhi government says its food inspectors found lead in 10 of the 13 packets they picked up for tests.

The authorities said five samples were also found to contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), commonly used as a flavour enhancer for Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and meat.

But experts say too much of it can cause headaches, chest pain and nausea. Consumed over a long period of time, it can damage the nervous system.

“The government will initiate action and will follow the legal course. Adulteration of any kind in food will not be tolerated,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain was quoted as saying by the NDTV news channel.

Reports say the government has summoned Nestle officials and “more action would be taken after detailed results of tests are available”.

Separately, authorities in Kerala have stopped sale of Maggi noodles from more than 1,000 government-run shops in the state following the developments in Uttar Pradesh.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob’s office said the sale had been stopped temporarily until “the veracity of the dispute is resolved”, the Press Trust of India reported.

A number of other states – Goa, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka – have also ordered tests on Maggi noodles, reports say.

Nestle India, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle SA, maintains it has strict safety and quality controls in place.

It said it had got samples of its noodles tested in an inhouse and an external laboratory which had found the product “safe to eat”.

The company also said that it did not “add MSG to Maggi Noodles, and glutamate, if present, may come from naturally occurring sources”.

“We are surprised with the content supposedly found in the sample as we monitor the lead content regularly as a part of the regulatory requirements,” it said.

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