Indian food inspectors have ordered Nestle India Company to recall a batch of Maggi noodles from shops across the country, saying they contained excess levels of Lead that are dangerous for human consumption.
As a part of routine tests conducted in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the Food Safety and Drug Administration (FDA) found a lead concentration of 17.2 parts per million (ppm) in two dozen packets of Maggi instant noodles from stores across the state. The acceptable limit of lead ranges between 0.01 ppm to 2.5 ppm, so the high lead content was nearly 7 times the permissible limit, the FDA officials said.
Lead is a neurotoxin, excess of which can damage the nervous system and cause blood and brain disorders in animals and humans. However, because of its natural occurrence, it should be noted that Lead (also present in soil) ends up in small quantities in some foods and food products.
Apart from the excess lead content, the FDA officials also found high levels of added MSG (monosodium glutamate), a taste enhancer, in the Maggi noodles. The deputy inspector general of the FDA in Lucknow (capital of Uttar Pradesh), D.G. Srivastava talked about the shocking results from experts and said they had approached federal food inspectors in New Delhi to launch a wider investigation into the Maggi noodles. Additional batches are now being sent for testing. A company spokesman confirmed the recall of the Maggi noodles batch dating back to March 2014, and also added that the concerned items were either consumed already or were beyond the sell-by date, making the recall difficult.
Maggi Noodles has been under frequent scrutiny in the past as well, it was alleged that they contain Pork and animal derived flavor enhancer MSG, the detailed analysis of which can be read on hoax debunking website hoaxorfact.com. Researchers say that few people may witness short-term reactions to MSG.
Nestle India, the manufacturer of Maggi Noodles is a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle SA, responded to these concerns saying they do not add MSG to Maggi Noodles. They said that they use raw materials which can contain naturally-occurring Glutamate, which is safe to consume. The Company said it could be confused with commercially added MSG. About the excess lead concerns, the Company said they submitted Maggi product samples to an independent accredited laboratory and are going to share the results with the FDA authorities.