After district authorities of Barabanki in UP found fresh samples of instant noodles Maggi “sub-standard”, Nestle India Thursday said wrong testing standards applied on wrong product will yield misleading results.
“We have not received any official intimation of the samples of Maggi noodles that have been tested for ash. We believe food quality and safety is primary for Nestle. We stand by it,” Nestle India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan told reporters here.
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He was responding to queries on tests conducted by a Lucknow-based state-owned laboratory that found ash content in Maggi Masala “to be 1.85 per cent, which is higher than the permissible limit of one per cent”.
Reacting to the findings, he said: “We believe that the analysis has been for ash using standard for macaroni products on instant noodles which, is clearly the wrong standard applied to wrong product. Obviously that leads to misleading results.”
Commenting on the comeback journey of Maggi, Narayanan said: “Distribution of Maggi has almost reached 75 to 80 per cent of what we were earlier at. When the other variants would come then I hope that we would be able to catch-up the balance part of the distribution. We are on the road to recovery.”
Before the instant noodle brand was banned in June last year, Nestle India was selling nine variants of Maggi in 3.5 million retail outlets in India with around half of them served by 1,400 distributors. The product made a comeback in November after clearing conditions put down by court.
He said Nestle India will come up with new variants of Maggi besides trying to bring back the earlier variants which were banned by central food safety regulator FSSAI.
“We are looking at earlier variants like atta noodles, cup noodles etc. I think these are definitely are on cards,” he said, adding with these the company would be able to consolidate its position in the coming months.
Presently Nestle is selling Masala noodles through reatil points.
Stating that it is a slow process and things won’t change dramatically, he said “In the coming quarters you can see that traction coming back.”
On the company’s overall plans, he said: “Our focus is not just to bring back the Maggi but also look at non-noodles part of the portfolio.”
He said Nestle India has initiatives in dairy, coffee, and chocolate.
“We have a dairy portfolio and we will clearly be looking at how we can add value in that portfolio,” he added.