World Bulletin / News Desk
A series of Indian states have put temporary bans on a popular brand of instant noodles sold by Swiss company Nestle after lab tests allegedly found the fast food carried excessive levels of lead.
The states of Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir implemented the bans on Maggi noodles -- also popular in other Asian countries beyond Asia -- on Thursday, immediately following up on Wednesday's rulings by Indian capital Delhi and the Indian army, which will no longer serve the noodles in its cantines.
The popular noodles have allegedly been found to contain excessive levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer, and lead, which can damage kidney, bones and nervous system.
Delhi's health minister, Satyendra Jain, told reporters in a press conference Wednesday that Delhi government will press a criminal case against Nestle India under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
Jain said the ban will last 15 days and that afterwards fresh samples of Maggi will be tested.
Nestle India said Monday that it has done extensive testing of 600 product batches and submitted the samples of Maggi noodles to an external laboratory for independent analysis.
"All the results of these internal and external tests show that lead levels are well within the limits specified by food regulations and that MAGGI noodles are safe to eat. We are sharing these results with the authorities," Nestle India said in a statement Monday.
The controversy over Maggi noodles broke last month after food safety inspectors in India’s biggest state, Uttar Pradesh, ordered the recall of 200,000 packets after spot checks showed high levels of MSG and lead levels 17 times above the prescribed limit.
Amid the rising food-safety concerns, Nestle’s shares fell sharply on Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Nestle's Maggi brand has more than half of the instant noodle market in India, where it has previously been marketed by high-profile Bollywood actors as a nutritious food product.Last Mod: 04 Haziran 2015, 15:54