Delhi and West Bengal governments have decided to test other brands of instant noodles and chips amid a raging controversy over alleged health hazards posed by Maggi noodles, raising food safety concerns across the nation.
Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said on Wednesday that the tests will be done on other brands to see whether they conform to parameters, reports said.
"Samples of other brands of instant noodles will also be picked up today for testing. There will be no tolerance to substandard food materials being sold in Delhi,” the Indian Express quoted Jain as saying.
The health minister also said he proposed to make the food adulteration act more stringent.
Jain made the statement at a press conference called to announce a 15-day ban on Nestle's instant noodles Maggi after tests showed unsafe levels of lead and taste-enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) in some samples. Uttarakhand too has announced a ban on Maggi, while more than 10 states, including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Karnataka are carrying out tests on the product.
Apart from Delhi, the West Bengal government too said it is sending popular brands of snacks like Kurkure and Lays for testing, PTI reported.
“I am sending some other products also for testing. And when the report comes, I will present it to the chief minister for some kind of action.” West Bengal consumer affairs minister Sadhan Pande said.
Meanwhile, the research and advocacy body Centre for Science and Environment ( CSE) has called for appropriate "nutrition fact labelling" on all such food products.
As a consumer's right, what is there in a food product should be clearly mentioned on the pack with quantity of each ingredient reflecting the recommended daily allowance, CSE's food safety team programme manager Amit Khurana said on Wednesday.
CSE also welcomed the initiative of food authorities to test food samples for heavy metals.
"It is an issue of public health and public good, hence, there is no room for any compromise on this issue. It is great that for the first time, processed food is being tested for contaminants like heavy metals by our food safety authorities, CSE's deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said.