Nestle Swings into damage Control Over Maggi

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NEW DELHI: Nestle, the country’s largest foods maker, swung into damage control mode on Thursday amid a social media storm over its flagship brand Maggi instant noodles being unsafe for consumption.

On April 30, the authorities in Lucknow asked NestleBSE 0.90 % to recall one batch of Maggi noodles after tests showed it contained seven times higher levels of lead than permissible and traces of the controversial ingredient monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Nestle said the batch was manufactured in February 2014 and had reached the best-before date in November. One batch contains about 200,000 packs. The company said its practice is to collect stock near the expiry date from distributors and retailers.

“We are confident that these packs are no longer in the market. The company does not agree with the order and is filing the requisite representations with the authorities”  Nestle spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

There are no other orders to recall Maggi noodles in the market, the company said. “We have in place strict food safety and quality controls including thorough quality checks at each stage of our raw material sourcing and manufacturing process. This includes comprehensive testing to ensure that Maggi noodles comply with all applicable food safety laws”  the statement added.

The company said it doesn’t add MSG to Maggi noodles sold in India and this is stated on the product. “However, we use hydrolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour to make Maggi noodles sold in India, which all contain glutamate. We believe that the authorities’ tests may have detected glutamate, which occurs naturally in many foods,” the company said.

On allegations that Maggi noodles contain higher levels of lead, Nestle said it regularly monitors for lead as part of its quality control process.

“We have submitted product samples to an independent accredited laboratory and will share the results with the authorities,” Nestle said.

(The report first appeared with Economic Times)

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