India’s Health Ministry on Friday ordered the removal of Nestle’s popular Maggi brand of instant noodles from stores across the country, saying the product had failed safety tests.
Nestle said that it would withdraw the product from Indian shop shelves in spite of stating the noodles were “safe to eat’’.
Federal Health Minister, JP Nadda said that the government had ordered Nestle to remove nine versions of Maggi noodles.
“I would like to assure the people of the country that no compromise will be made. Food safety and standards will be fully maintained,’’ he said.
India’s main food safety regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, said laboratory tests had found overwhelming evidence that the instant noodles are “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption.
Five Indian states including New Delhi have temporarily banned Maggi for unsafe levels of lead.
The agency said that the tests also detected controversial chemical Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a flavour enhancer.
At a press conference, Nestle global Chief Executive, Paul Bulcke said “trust of the consumers was shaken” but added that there was confusion about the testing methods used by Indian authorities and Nestle.
Nestle said that its officials would meet with Indian government representatives to discuss the matter in the coming days.
“Our foremost priority is to provide an atmosphere that has the trust of the consumer and that is the reason we have decided to take the product out of the market, temporarily.
“I am confident that we are going to come back very soon,’’ Bulcke told reporters.
Bulcke said that the company had tested 1,000 batches of the noodles in the last few days and “all results of our tests indicate Maggi noodles are safe for consumption.”
Nestle said its own tests showed lead levels within safety limits.
He said that no MSG was added to noodles sold in India, but the product glutamate occurred naturally in other ingredients used