US becomes 7th country to give clean chit to Maggi noodles

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2015 22:55 IST

The United States Food and Drug Administration has said Maggi is safe to eat, giving Nestle a handy weapon in its fight against the Indian government, which on Tuesday sued it for Rs 640 crore. The regulators of six other countries have already cleared Maggi, but the USFDA is known to have the most stringent standards.

“Following news reports about alleged lead levels in Maggi instant noodles made by Nestle and sold in the United States, the FDA tested a limited number of samples of the products for lead contamination. [The] FDA testing did not find any levels that present a public health concern for US consumers,” a spokesperson for the regulator said in an email to HT.

The noodle, which had created a Rs 2800 crore market in India and lorded over 70% of it, has already been cleared by the food regulators of the United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Vietnam and New Zealand.

“We have learnt from our official importer in the United States, House of Spices, that the USFDA has tested several shipments of Maggi noodles from India for lead content,” said a Nestle India spokesperson.

House of Spices on Monday had announced the clean chit on its Facebook page, following which HT wrote to the regulator for confirmation.

India’s food regulator, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, banned Maggi on June 5, based on allegations that it had too much lead and that Nestle’s declaration on the pack -- "No added MSG" -- was wrong. The FSSAI also said the company was selling Maggi Oats Masala Noodles without product approval.

The popular noodle soon disappeared from the shelves and according to reports, 27,420 tonne of it -- worth Rs 320 crore -- had to be destroyed at an Ambuja cement factory.

On Tuesday, Nestle became the first company to be dragged by the Consumer Affairs ministry to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The ministry sought damages for unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.

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