Authorities in Kolkata said on Sunday that samples of Maggi instant noodles will be sent for testing in a central government laboratory, just days after Uttar Pradesh sought the recall of the popular brand on the ground that it contains a dangerously high level of lead.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has collected samples from markets across the city to be sent for testing.
“Our food inspectors have collected current samples and these will be sent for testing at the Central Food Laboratories, a government of India laboratory in Kolkata on Tuesday,” Atin Ghosh, member (health) of the mayor-in-council, told Hindustan Times.
“As soon as we get the report, we will alert the state government for all necessary action, (especially) if any negative report is ascertained,” he said.
Last week, the Food Safety and Drug Administration (FDA) of Uttar Pradesh said it had found dangerously high levels of lead in a 2014 batch of the two-minute instant noodles manufactured by Nestle India, a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Nestle SA.
FDA officials said all packets of instant noodles tested in a state-run laboratory were contaminated.
While Uttar Pradesh is contemplating legal action, Maharashtra and Gujarat too have sent samples for testing. The results are expected next week.
Ghosh said Maggi noodles from the 2014 batch were not found in Kolkata’s markets. The KMC’s food inspectors collected samples from more recent batches.
The reports of contaminated Maggi packets from Uttar Pradesh gave rise to panic in Kolkata, where the instant noodles are a favourite with children.
“I have been in a fix. I had just bought two big packets of Maggi last week. Then came this news that Maggi contains harmful chemicals. I have been giving Maggi to my daughter in her tiffin for long. I am now tense about what to do,” said Parna Dutta, a homemaker from Belur whose daughter studies in Class IX.
Nestle India has taken issue with the order from authorities in Uttar Pradesh to recall a batch of noodles. It said the batch of about 200,000 packets were made in February last year and had already reached their "best before" date last November.
It further said it is confident products from that batch were no longer in the market. “The company does not agree with the order and is filing the requisite representations with the authorities," it said in a statement on Thursday.
Nestle India said lead levels in Maggi noodles were within permissible limits.
“We are also aware of the reports of elevated levels of lead in a pack of Maggi noodles analysed by the authorities. We regularly monitor for lead as part of our stringent quality control processes, including testing by accredited laboratories. These tests have consistently shown lead levels in Maggi noodles to be within permissible limits,” it said in the statement.
Nestle India also said it was aware of reports that tests by authorities had detected monosodium glutamate (MSG) in a sample of Maggi noodles. “We have submitted product samples to an independent accredited laboratory and will share the results with the authorities,” the statement added.
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