Maggi has been India’s favourite instant-food for quite a while now. Tired of cooking lunch and dinner? Make maggi. Hungry in the middle of the day? Make maggi. But this overly-consumed food was found to contain added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead in excess of the permissible limit.
MSG is also known as The Silent Killer.
The Lucknow Food Safety and Drug Administration has initiated inquiry and written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in New Delhi seeking to cancel the licence for Maggi. Officials also said that the state regulator has asked FSSAI to order sampling of the product from across India to check its quality.
“We have tested Maggi samples at Kolkata’s referral laboratory. The test results show that there are added monosodium glutamate and excess of lead. We have ordered further sampling,” FSDA Assistant Commissioner Vijay Bahadur Yadav told TOI.
However, Nestle, which is the manufacturer of Maggi, maintains that it does not add monosodium glutamate to the product, and that the presence of excess lead is “surprising” for the company.
This is what Nestle had to say about the matter:
“We do not add MSG to MAGGI Noodles and glutamate, if present, may come from naturally occurring sources. Food regulators in India also do not specify any limit for the presence of MSG / Glutamate,” a Nestle spokesperson said.
“We are surprised with the lead content supposedly found in the sample. We monitor the lead content regularly as part of regulatory requirements, and tests at our own accredited laboratories as well as those by independent external accredited laboratories have consistently shown the results to be well within the permissible limit.”
The test results : Maggi contains 17 parts per million lead?!
Permissible limit : 0.01 parts per million (notice the difference?)
Nestle says its records show lead content is negligible and less than 1 % of the fixed limit.
Why is Monosodium glutamate added to food?
It is a kind of amino acid which occurs naturally in many agricultural products, and is often also added artificially to packaged food to enhance flavour.
Regulators and experts say such additives can be harmful for health, mainly for children. It is mandatory for companies to specify on the packaging if MSG has been added.
“Enforcement of the Act lies with state government and they must keep a stringent check. Once we receive communication from the state, we will certainly examine and take immediate cognizance,” a senior FSSAI official said.
Nestle maintains that Maggi noodles “conform to all applicable food laws and regulations”. They also said that so far they have not been informed about any cancellation of licence or ban on the product.