Uttar Pradesh Orders Recall Of Nestle's Maggi Noodles Containing Dangerous Lead Levels

20/05/2015 7:51 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
In this photo taken on April 21, 2010, a man picks up a package of Maggi instant noodle made of whole wheat manufactured by Nestle Malaysia at the 7th World Instant Noodle Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More than a half-century after his father invented instant noodles to feed Japan's war-ravaged masses, Koki Ando says it is time to change the high-calorie, salt-laden fast food into healthier fare for the fastidious. In Malaysia, leading manufacturer Maggi is promoting "Tastylite" soup noodles made of whole wheat, with every packet providing the same amount of fiber as nearly one-and-a-half slices of whole wheat bread. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Food inspectors have ordered Nestle India to recall a batch of Maggi noodles from shops across the country, saying the product contained dangerous levels of lead.

The Food Safety and Drug Administration (FDA) in Uttar Pradesh said high lead content was found during routine tests on two dozen packets of instant noodles, manufactured by Nestle in India

Two FDA officials said all the packets of instant noodles tested in the state-run laboratory were contaminated. They found a lead concentration of 17.2 parts per million (ppm), nearly seven times the permissible limit. The FDA officials said the acceptable limit of lead ranges between 0.01 ppm and 2.5 ppm.

The scientists also found high levels of added monosodium glutamate (MSG), a taste enhancer, in the noodles.

"Maggi instant noodles contained dangerous amount of lead and MSG. We had to immediately issue orders against the company," D.G. Srivastava, deputy inspector general of the FDA in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh, told Reuters.

Nestle India, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle SA, said it had strict safety and quality controls in place for all raw materials used to make Maggi noodles.

"We do 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.

A company spokesman confirmed Uttar Pradesh had ordered it to withdraw the batch dating back to March 2014, but added the items concerned had either already been consumed or were beyond the sell-by date, making the recall difficult.

Srivastava said his team collected more than two dozen packs of instant noodles from stores across the state and tested each pack separately before making the findings public.

"Our experts conducted several tests and each time the results were shocking," he told Reuters, adding they had approached federal food inspectors in New Delhi to launch a wider investigation of the noodles.

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