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FSSAI CEO on Nestle’s Maggi: If their product was safe, why did they destroy it?

Maggi samples given clean chits were from factory that manufactures largely for exports, says FSSAI.

Written by Shruti Srivastava | New Dellhi | Updated: August 17, 2015 7:27 am
maggi row, maggi noodles, FSSAI, maggi ban, maggi noodles ban, High Court Maggi, nestle maggi banned, nestle maggi noodles banned, maggi ban, maggi test, MGA, maggi controversy, Fssai, Maharashtra maggi ban, Bombay High Court, Nestle India Bombay High Court, India news, Maharashtra news, mumbai news, Indian Express Yudhvir Singh Malik, CEO, FSSAI, said, “There are eight facilities of Nestle and all the samples which went for CFTIR Mysore were from Bicholim, Goa, which are meant for exports.

The Bombay High Court’s order in favour of Nestle’s Maggi noodles, and the clean chit by countries including the US, the UK, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand notwithstanding, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has maintained that the ban on the product was done after thorough tests and “these clean chits have been given to samples primarily drawn from Nestle’s Bicholim factory in Goa, which manufactures the noodles largely for exports”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Yudhvir Singh Malik, CEO, FSSAI, said, “There are eight facilities of Nestle and all the samples which went for CFTIR Mysore were from Bicholim, Goa, which are meant for exports. The US, Australia and New Zealand may have given clean chits but the samples were all drawn from the export facility. We have already requested the UKFDA, which has called India’s Maggi safe, to share with us the details such as when and where the samples were drawn from, the batch of the samples, what factors were considered, what testing protocol was followed and the test results. However, despite three reminders they have not replied.”

It is to be noted that earlier the FSSAI had rubbished all-clear reports from two of its own empanelled labs, saying there were lapses in the tests. It had rejected the findings of the Food and Drugs Laboratory of Goa as well as the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, over test discrepancies.

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“We asked Nestle that since they are claiming to have got clean chit from the UKFDA, do they have the reports for the same and asked them to share it with us. However, they have gone on record claiming that they don’t have it. How can they not have it? If their product was safe why did they destroy it? We ordered only recall of the product and offered that if the product was safe for consumption they should export it. However they destroyed it,” Malik said while emphasising that the FSSAI is focussing on its prime responsibility of ensuring safe food to people. According to an official, the FSSAI had ordered recall of Maggi noodles on June 5 after testing 78 samples of Maggi from Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and other states, of which 30 samples were found carrying excess lead.

The official said that the sample was fairly large to take action on. Following the order, Nestle India had moved Bombay High Court. Last week the court set aside the order though it asked the company to get its noodle samples tested at three FSSAI accredited labs — Hyderabad, Mohali and Jaipur — to check lead contents.Explaining the ban on the product, Malik said that while FSSAI regulations don’t prescribe that MSG is unsafe, it explicitly mentions that it should not be in products meant for children below 12 months old.

“They said that they have not added MSG in Maggi and it is naturally present. Even if it is naturally present, why did they write No MSG added? We are not getting into whether it is safe for consumption. We have just said that it was falsification under the FSSAI regulations. They could have said that it contains natural MSG,” he said.

With regards to lead, which is bad for health as it accumulates in the system, the CEO said, “It can even be transferred from the placenta to babies. It will never have an immediate impact but you will never be able to relate it to consumption of lead on account of Maggi… Once it is a section 22 food, we don’t test it and go 100 per cent by what the company writes.”

As far as tests are concerned, the FSSAI CEO emphasised that the tests were done on the basis of CODEX document which was attached to the application of Nestle and hence no objections can be raised by the company on the testing protocol followed.

“Approval is granted on the basis of the content of the application. Nestle told us that they were confused about the testing protocol followed by us. But we have done it according to the CODEX document which was attached to their application, which says that the cake and masala will be tested separately and that is what we did. Now they are questioning our test. It is their protocol that was agreed to and now they can’t go back on it,” Malik stressed.

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  1. S
    student
    Aug 17, 2015 at 12:19 pm
    This issue will definitely be a big blow to Make in India initiative. FSSAI did mistake and now its trying to do everything possible to save itself.
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    1. A
      Ajoy Daspurkayastha
      Aug 20, 2015 at 1:33 am
      ROCKET SCIENCE MAY HAVE EXTREMELY ACCURATE MATHEMETICAL CALCULATIONS TO PROPEL A ROCKET IN THE SKY AS THE ROCKET SCIENTIST LIKE -------BUT FIXING PERMISSIBLE LIMIT FOR MSG(MONO SODIUM GLUTAMATE)----IS THE HERCULIAN TASK ---ONE OF THE TOUGHEST JOB ON EARTH-----INDIAN FOOD REGULATORS HAVE DONE IT REASONABLY WELL AND WORTHY OF PRAISE. 32 years back I used to live in an Indian city of Faridabad, Haryana where I used to work as Product Development Manager in a Govt. of India undertaking Food Company. The story goes like this. Originally, I was from west Bengal. My Haryana-colleague when used to take me in his home and used to offer to drink a full gl of hot-milk . I could never digest that. My Haryana colleague could easily digest the full gl of hat-milk. None of us were lactose-intolerant. Investigate the genetic profile of people living in Haryana and investigate the genetic profile of people living in West Bengal. They are different and the capabilities of digestions for different foods and food additives are different too. Now, please view/investigate this matter through the eyes of “Nutragenomics and the various related branches of food science and medical science ---interesting policy related data will be generated to help the food policy makers. The case is almost similar for food safety policy makers. I can only say to you, things are extremely complex when multiplicity of factors related to fixing of food safety limits of different food additives/contaminants play their roles and this is especially true for the Countries having immigrants coming from various parts of the world. In fine, it can be concluded without any hesitation that fixing safe limit for MSG for that matter in any country of the world could be extremely challenging and complex in non-harmonious por belief in the world of food safety and food safety policy makers ---“What is true is also untrue for the same reason intended.” Now,I heartily believe ,you must have understood why ,I mentioned that fixing limits for MSG is more complicated that fixing a rocket meant to propel a rocket in its designated route through accurate mathematical calculations. Comments 3 Share
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      1. A
        Ajoy Daspurayastha
        Aug 18, 2015 at 6:49 pm
        copy may be given to health minister and consumer affairs minister through fax may be if situation arise
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        1. A
          Ajoy Daspurkayastha
          Aug 20, 2015 at 1:23 am
          India is world’s highest producers of milk free from Rbst hormone free milk and Dr. Kurien’s contribution leading to India’s milk co-operatives movement on “AMUL Model”is well understood by now after seeing the hindi movie”Manthan”. Milk being children’s food, greater attention is needed in terms of enforcement action. Regular sample lifting/testing/checks will ensure that. Childrens should not cream after eating ice-cream due to bacterial contamination. Plant hygiene and inspection is needed more. Greater transparency is expected for self-regulation by the food processors. They need to do this for their own good. It is consumer driven industry and consumers want it that way with more transparency and less confusion. Shelf-life tests for all the marketable processed food products are must for any food processors. All the food processors must write the ingredients in the declaration of ingredients in the package from higher percentage to lower percentage without writing the percentage. All the food allergens must be declared in the package. Erring/Delinquent Food [Processors not only can face FSSAI’s enforcement actions but can also face PIL(Public Interest Litigations) by consumer groups.Milk being children’s food, greater attention is needed in terms of enforcement action. Regular sample lifting/testing/checks will ensure that. CHOCOLATE MILK IMPROVES THE BRAIN FUNCTIONS/COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS OF CHILDREN AND IT IS WELL KNOWN BY NOW IN THE WORLD OF FLAVOURED MILK. Reference:-- QUOTE--- Include Dairy oh! white or chocolate milk as a snack. A 2010 study showed that children who drank milk about four times per week had better memory and longer attention spans than children who rarely drank milk----UNQUOTE . Milk being children’s food, greater attention is needed in terms of enforcement action. Regular sample lifting/testing/checks will ensure that. Childrens should not cream after eating ice-cream due to bacterial contamination. Plant hygiene and inspection is needed more. Greater transparency is expected for self-regulation by the food processors. They need to do this for their own good. It is consumer driven industry and consumers want it that way with more transparency and less confusion. Shelf-life tests for all the marketable processed food products are must for any food processors. All the food processors must write the ingredients in the declaration of ingredients in the package from higher percentage to lower percentage without writing the percentage. All the food allergens must be declared in the package. Erring/Delinquent Food [Processors not only can face FSSAI’s enforcement actions but can also face PIL(Public Interest Litigations) by consumer groups.Milk being children’s food, greater attention is needed in terms of enforcement action. Regular sample lifting/testing/checks will ensure that. Shelf-life tests for all the marketable processed food products including milk products determining and printing the expiry date on the package are must for any food processors. All the food processors must write the ingredients in the declaration of ingredients in the package from higher percentage to lower percentage without writing the percentage. All the food allergens must be declared in the package. Erring/Delinquent Food [Processors not only can face FSSAI’s enforcement actions but can also face PIL (Public Interest Litigations) by consumer groups.
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          1. D
            Diplomat
            Aug 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm
            If lead is there !!! In any case, we eat MSG through many other natural items in our food.
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