After Maggi noodles, ITC Sunfeast pasta has been found unsafe for consumption because of excessive lead content detected during tests at a Delhi laboratory.
In samples sent for testing by the food and drug administration, Jabalpur, a few weeks ago, the lead content was found to be 2.8 ppm (parts per million) as against the approved limit of 2.5 ppm.
After the lab report was received on Saturday, the food security officer of Jabalpur sent a notice to the ITC head office in Kolkata. “The samples of Sunfeast pasta were collected from Jabalpur and sent for testing to Shriram Analytical Laboratory, Delhi. In the report, the level of lead was found in excess. The food security officer, Jabalpur, Devaki Sonwani has sent a notice to the head office. The required action will be taken only after their reply,” food and drug administration joint controller, Madhya Pradesh, Pramod Shukla said.
Commenting on the report, an ITC spokesperson denied the findings. “ITC strongly opposes the allegation that Sunfeast Pasta was found to be unsafe due to the levels of lead being found to be more than the prescribed limit, and would like to affirm that the Sunfeast Pasta range is safe for consumption,” the spokesperson said.
“ITC had received notice from Food Safety Officer, Jabalpur that also contained an analysis report regarding a sample of Sunfeast Pasta. ITC conducts frequent tests internally and externally at accredited laboratories to ensure the safety of its food products,” he added.
Tests of a sample from the same batch at an NABL-accredited and FSSAI-notified laboratory showed the levels of lead were below the detection limit of the laboratory, he added. “The matter is still pending with the authorities and has not reached finality,” the spokesperson said.
Health experts say excessive intake of lead can cause damage to the kidneys, bones and nervous system and is particularly harmful to children and can cause learning disorders.
Earlier this year, global food giant Nestle battled its worst-ever branding crisis in India as its popular Maggi noodles had to be pulled out of stores after safety regulators found monosodium glutamate and excessive lead content in product samples.