At least five samples of Maggi noodles collected randomly in Maharashtra revealed lead content exceeding permissible limits, and 20 samples showed presence of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Following the test results by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Minister Girish Bapat ordered a ban on the product.
The tests were conducted at the State Public Health Laboratory, Pune, and Food Testing Laboratory, Bandra.
Nestle, which had been insisting that its product was safe for consumption, has already announced that all its variants of Maggi noodles would be withdrawn from India until they get quality clearances.
Delhi, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Gujarat were among the states that had ordered a ban on Maggi noodles.
Nine samples tested on Friday in Maharashtra were declared safe for consumption, but the recent batch showed contraventions of the Food Safety and Standards Act of India (FSSAI), 2006. According to lab reports, lead content in the five packets ranged between 2.55 parts per million (ppm) to 4.66 ppm. FSSAI rules allow a cap of 2.5 ppm.
The noodle packets tested were manufactured at units in Himachal Pradesh, Goa, and Uttarakhand.
In May end, 20 samples from Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur and Nanded were randomly collected for laboratory analysis after the Uttar Pradesh government reported that lead was present beyond permissible limits, and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) was detected. For MSG, manufacturers are expected to adopt Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines. Nestle had claimed that there was no MSG in its noodles. Saturday’s results on 20 samples found MSG in small quantities.
According to experts, lead in blood exceeding 10 mcg/dL in children or 20 mcg/dL can cause lead poisoning, which can be fatal, or lead to mental impairment in children. In adults, it can cause muscle fatigue and coma.
Internal and external tests by Nestle on its products showed that it was safe for consumption. Goa had reported five samples that had lead within permissible limits, but many other states found lead higher than the permissible limit. Maharashtra FDA ordered a recall of Maggi noodles and its tastemaker. The FDA has also ordered Nestle to remove Maggi oats from the stands as it has not received a no-objection certificate from FSSAI.