As Maggi goes off the shelves amid food safety concerns, the focus is back on homemade foods. "Instant foods and packaged food items affect the health over a period of time,"say experts.
"Moving away from natural food can have serious consequences on our health. Maggi is a very popular instant food that is relished by children and adults alike. But now reports show these 'two-minute' noodles contain very harmful lead and taste-enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) that has an adverse effect on health of children,"says professor Anita Kochhar, head of department of food and nutrition, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.
High dose of MSG and lead can lead to liver damage, heart problems and can cause diabetes, says Kochar.
"Noodles can be easily be made at home with flour. Children should be given homemade food as much as possible, as it is nutritious and safe. Apart from instant noodles, children should avoid fast foods such as pizzas and burgers,"said Kochar.
India is the fourth largest consumer of instant noodles after China, Indonesia and Japan, revealed PAU senior economist Mohinder Singh Sidhu of PAU. Citing data of World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), Sidhu said: "Per capita 4.27 packets of instant noodles are consumed daily in India. China's consumption is eight times more than India. Being an instant food, many mothers prefer serving it to their kids as it gets ready within no time. This is one of the reasons of its high consumption,"says Sidhu.
A general survey in the city revealed that shops have taken instant noodles off their shelves. On social net working sites, people of all age groups are motivating each other to go for homemade foods.
Top 5 consumers of instant noodles
Country No. of Packets (In crores) % share
China 4,440 48.47
Indonesia 1,343 14.66
Japan 550 6.20
India 534 5.83
Vietnam 500 5.46
(Source: World Instant Noodles Association, figures for 2014)