Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Nepal Also Ban Maggi Noodles

   |  Updated: June 05, 2015 12:21 IST

Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Nepal Also Ban Maggi Noodles
After Delhi issued a ban on Maggi Noodles for 15 days, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir and now Tamil Nadu have also decided to join in. The Gujarat government has decided to ban Maggi, Sunfeast and Hakka noodles for a month after 27 out of 39 samples tested in the state were detected with objectionable levels of metallic lead. Jammu and Kashmir has also banned the product for a month. The latest to join the bandwagon is the Tamil Nadu government which has decided to ban Maggi noodles for three months after its tests found lead twice above the permissible limit.

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Further, the Nepal government has decided to impose a ban on importing and selling of Maggi noodles in its market for an undefined period. According to Uttam Kumar Bhattarai, secretary at the ministry of agriculture development, "Yes, we are putting a ban on importing and selling Maggi in Nepal following the controversy in India." He also added that his ministry was going to issue a public notice urging consumers to avoid eating Maggi noodles following the controversy in India.

(The Dark Side of Instant Noodles: What Makes Them Harmful?)The Indian government had recently organized the delivery of 200,000 packets of Maggi noodles to neighbouring Nepal immediately after the earthquake there. According to traders, after Wai Wai, Maggi is a popular brand in Nepal and Maggi soup is one of the most popular brands among soup items.

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In Mumbai, a retailers' organisation has ordered all members to immediately stop stocking or selling Maggi noodles till all the doubts over its safety are cleared. "We have directed all our 25,000 provision stores to stop stocking and selling Maggi till the results of the Maharashtra government tests are declared," Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) president Viren Shah told IANS.

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"All food and provision stores are requested to stop selling Maggi products till the same is replaced by the company and certified by the government authority to be safe for consumer," the directive issued on Thursday morning said. Besides, all other retailers have also been urged to halt Maggi sales with immediate effect, he added. In the past few days, Shah said, retailers have reported a sharp drop of 50 percent in Maggi noodles sales.

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The development came a day after the Maharashtra government cracked the whip on multinational Nestle's popular Maggi brand of noodles and sent samples collected from around the state for testing in government laboratories.

(Delhi Government Bans Sale of Maggi Noodles for 15 Days, Other States Await Results)

Food & Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat has said the test results are expected on Friday, and depending on the outcome the government will take further steps. The samples have been picked up from Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Pune, Nagpur and are being tested in government labs in Mumbai and Pune. "The samples are being tested for metallic lead content and the amount of ajinomoto salt which is used for flavouring the noodles. We expect the reports by Friday. We will accordingly decide the course of action," Bapat had told media persons on Wednesday.

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Maharashtra Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) officials said that 25 samples, including four from Mumbai and Thane and 15 from Pune, are being tested in the FDA lab in Mumbai and a central government lab in Pune. "If the reports of the Maggi noodles and the accompanying masala are positive, then we have the powers to ban the product from sale or distribution in the markets. The FDA can also initiate action against the celebrities endorsing the product in such a case," the official, requesting anonymity, said.

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Referring to the losses suffered by retailers, Shah said it hardly matters since the dealers' margin on Maggi is barely 10 percent. More samples for testing have been sent in states like Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

In one of their statements, Nestle India has responded by saying that the latest tests conducted by them show that the product is safe for consumption. "We have submitted samples of MAGGI Noodles from almost 600 product batches to an external laboratory for independent analysis. These samples represent around 125 million/12.5 Crore packets. We have also tested samples from almost 1,000 batches at our own laboratory which is accredited by the authorities. All the results of these internal and external tests show that lead levels are well within the limits specified by food regulations and that MAGGI Noodles are safe to eat.

CommentsWith inputs from IANS

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