Indian Army has issued advisory to its personnel on Wednesday, asking them not to eat Maggi noodles. Army has also directed its canteens not to sell stock of Maggi noodles till further orders.
Earlier, Maggi noodles were banned in Delhi for 15 days and existing stocks ordered to be withdrawn while retail major Future Group stopped sale of the popular instant snack at its Big Bazaar outlets in a further setback to Nestle India over food safety issues.
With concerns rising over the safety of the two-minute noodles, megastar Amitabh Bachchan, against whom a Bihar court has ordered registration of an FIR after he was featured in their advertisements, said he will cooperate with “what the law says” though he hasn’t received any notice in connection with the product that he “stopped promoting” two years ago. Actors Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were also named in the FIR.
The Union government referred the Maggi issue to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to take appropriate action even as more states – Assam, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal – lifted samples for tests.
However, in some good news for the Swiss multinational, a Goa official said lab tests of samples of the noodles taken in the state have not shown any traces of the flavour enhancer MSG and lead.
Announcing Delhi government’s decision to ban Maggi noodles for 15 days, Delhi health minister Satyender Jain said Nestle India has been asked to withdraw the existing stock.
Jain said the government will carry out lab testing of all other noodles brands available in the city and will take action based on the reports. “Government has put a ban on Maggi noodles for 15 days. We have asked Nestle India to withdraw Maggi stocks within 15 days. We will carry out lab testing of fresh stocks and a decision will be taken accordingly thereafter,” Jain said.
The decision came nearly two hours after several top Nestle India officials explained to Jain their position on the issue.
On Tuesday, the Delhi government had said that it found samples of Maggi noodles “unsafe” for consumption as it contained lead beyond the permissible level in Maggi masala (tastemaker).
A Future Group spokesperson said that in the interest of consumer sentiment and concerns the retail major has taken Maggi noodles off the shelves from all its stores for the time being. “We will wait for more clarity from authorities to take any further course of action,” the spokesperson said. Modern retail outlets like Big Bazaar run by the Future Group contribute a large chunk of sales for FMCG firms, including Nestle.
“The samples (of Maggi) which were drawn from state’s markets did not have any ingredients which are harmful,” said Goa Food and Drug Administration’s deputy director, Jyoti Sardesai.
She said the samples were taken from the market and also from the North Goa-based Nestle factory.
“The (results of) tests for monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead (have) come negative. The samples were produced (for testing) in Goa and in Punjab facility,” Sardesai said.
Maggi noodles has been at the centre of a raging storm after UP FDA tests found higher than stipulated levels of lead and MSG in it.
However, Nestle India claimed it has got samples tested in an external laboratory as well as in-house and that the product was found “safe to eat.”