Health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda on Friday told the Lok Sabha that Nestle India, which had been asked in June to take Maggi Noodles off the shelves, had not responded to the government’s notice on the presence of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSM) beyond permissible limits in many samples.
When Nestle was asked to recall its products, Nadda told MPs, the company was also given 15 days to explain why their products should not be withdrawn. “Till today there is no answer. Cooperation from both sides should be there,” he said.
Last month, Nadda had told MPs that the department of consumer affairs would also be filing a complaint with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission against Nestle India.
Nadda was responding to an MP who questioned the standard of food-testing labs in India by citing wide variations in the results of lead and MSM in the noodles. Nadda said, “There is variation in the results and it is because of the Maggi product. We are not going to add lead on our own.” He added that the samples were examined following a uniform protocol, which was even prescribed by Nestle.
“Out of 78, let me state that 30 were found to have excessive lead; the others were for MSG,” Nadda said. Lead levels were beyond permissible limits in samples from many states such as Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, UP and Tamil Nadu. “There are states in which no tests failed, like in Kerala and Goa,” he said.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), however, had made it clear earlier this week that samples from its Goa manufacturing unit — from where Nestle India exported the noodles — had not been tested for MSM.
“It is clarified in the first instance that FSSAI has not given any clean chit regarding the safety of Maggi Noodles,” the body had said.