Hindustan Unilever's Chinese range of Knorr instant noodles may come under the scanner of FSSAI as the product is not in the approved list of items of the central food safety regulator. The FSSAI yesterday issued an order to test more brands of noodles, pastas and macaronis. It listed 33 items manufactured by seven companies approved by it in these categories, wherein HUL's Chinese range of Knorr instant noodles did not feature.
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The food safety regulator had stated that apart from those in the list, "the safety of all other such products in these categories has not been assessed as per the product approval procedures" and "the same are unauthorised and illegal and cannot be intended for human consumption".
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It has also asked commissioners of food safety of all states and Union Territories to ensure that such unapproved "products are recalled, removed from the market and destroyed". "Yesterday, FSSAI issued a list of approved brands (of noodles, pastas and macaronis) for testing. Those which are not in the list are not approved and FSSAI hasn't done quality checks on those unapproved products," a senior official said.
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When contacted, a spokesperson of HUL said: "With regard to Chinese range of Knorr Instant Noodles, we wish to clarify that the ingredients used are permitted under the FSS Regulation, 2011/Codex and details of the same have been shared with FSSAI as part of our application and the company continues to engage with FSSAI."
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HUL's Chinese range of Knorr instant noodles are available in two flavours of Hot & Spicy and Schezwan in the market. On Knorr Soupy Noodles, the HUL spokesperson said it was a soup-based product and "hence is a standardised product under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006. The FSSAI product approval guidelines are therefore not applicable."
Last week, FSSAI had banned nine variants of Maggi terming them "unsafe and hazardous" for human consumption after finding high levels of lead and presence of taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG). Nestle India also announced withdrawal of the product from the market.