Nestle India’s woes continued to escalate as dozens of live larvae were found in the company’s baby milk powder in Tamil Nadu after its popular Maggi noodles were subjected to tests at several places in the country for reportedly containing very high levels of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
The larvae were found by K Prem Ananth, a taxi driver from Coimbatore, when he bought the Nestle NAN PRO 3 milk powder for his twin babies, The New Indian Express reported . The sample of milk powder was then declared unsafe by the Tamil Nadu Food Safety Wing.
A report of the Food Analysis Laboratory in Coimbatore confirmed that the sample contained 28 live larvae and 22 rice weevils, the daily reported.
Ananth had fed one of his 18-month-old twins and was about to feed the other when he stumbled on the live larvae in the milk powder. Ananth said two days after the feeding, the infant developed a skin allergy and was admitted to a private paediatric care centre.
He registered a “voice complaint” with the Nestle customer support, which sent local area manager G Krishnaperumal to investigate the matter.
Krishnaperumal offered to replace the product but Ananth refused. The representative then promised to test the powder at the company’s certified laboratory, an offer which Ananth again rejected since he was not convinced Nestle would conduct an impartial probe.
On April 29, Ananth approached the Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration Department (Food Safety Wing) in Coimbatore and submitted the samples for testing.
The report from the department, which the New Indian Express quoted, said that “the sample of MILK POWDER — Nestle NAN PRO 3 submitted for analysis does not conform to standards specified under Regulation 2.1.9(5) of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations as it contains live insects”.
Ananth has reportedly filed a complaint with the Food Safety Cell in Coimbatore.
R Kathiravan, the designated food safety officer, confirmed the report about larvae in the milk powder but said the results cannot be used to classify all Nestle products as unsafe.
The detection of larvae in Nestle’s milk powder came amidst a raging controversy over “dangerously high” levels of lead and MSG found in a sample of Maggi two-minute noodles in Uttar Pradesh. This prompted authorities in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu to conduct tests on the noodles. Nestle has rejected the charges against Maggi.
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