State govts crackdown on Nestle Widespread panic over Maggi from Delhi to Kerala,

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Lab reports of Maggi samples in New Delhi have shown them to be unsafe, the AAP government in New Delhi has said, adding that strict action will be taken based on the report and a complaint has been filed against manufacturer Nestle India.

A Delhi government press release on Tuesday stated that their test showed, that of a total of 13 samples, 10 masala (tastemaker) samples were found to be unsafe having lead exceeding the prescribed limits. The prescribed limit of lead is 2.5 ppm.

Five samples of the masala (tastemaker) were also found to have monosodium glutamate without proper label declaration, which fell under the category of misbranding, the release said.

It further stated that the government has decided to initiate a case against the company for selling an unsafe product and also impose a fine on the company for what it termed as misbranding by the product.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain will be meeting Nestle  India officials on 3 June to discuss the issue, according DB. He was also quoted as saying that legal action will be taken and more samples will be tested.

he national capital is not the only place where Maggi has landed in a soup for being unsafe.In Kerala, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob’s office said an order had been issued to temporarily stop the distribution of Maggi noodles from its retail outlets in the state forthwith till there is clarity on the safety issue.

Kerala State Civil Supplies corporation, also known as Supplyco, has around 1,400 outlets throughout the state.It all began in Uttar Pradesh when Maggi noodles came under the scanner last month after the Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration asked Nestle India to withdraw a batch of noodles ‘which were manufactured in February 2014’ after it found the presence of non-essential taste enhancer monosodium glutamate and high levels of lead in the samples tested.The Centre had then asked central food safety regulator FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) to test samples of the noodles from all states.

Govt framing new law to deal with Maggi-like cases

The Centre is working on a new law with a provision of life imprisonment to deal with cases in which consumers of essential commodities and food items are duped, Union Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan said on Tuesday.People indulging in “confusing advertisement” to promote such essential commodities and food items would also be liable for stringent punishement of life sentence under the new law, Paswan told reporters.
He cited the case of Maggi noodles, which contained high level of lead and monosodium glutamate, saying stringent legal provision would be applied.

Cine stars Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, brand ambassdors of Maggi, are facing the heat with a Muzaffarpur court in Bihar today ordering registration of FIR against them on a complaint of sale of harmful Maggi noodles.The Union Food and Consumer Affairs minister said that no leniency would be shown against those indulging in manufacture and promotion of sale of life-saving items and harmful food products.

Here is a list of states that have initiated action against Nestle’s popular noodle brand.

Karnataka – The Karnataka government on 2 June ordered random lifting of samples of the product from across the state for laboratory testing after allegations of lapses in food safety standards came to the fore. There are four Maggi manufacturing units in the state.

Haryana – The Government in Haryana has also ordered random testing of Maggi noodles’s samples on 2 June from every district in the state for laboratory testing after the allegations about it being unsafe gained credence.

Kerala – The Kerala government temporarily ordered a halt on the distribution of Maggi noodles from over 1,000 government retail outlets in the state in the wake of Uttar Pradesh FSDA finding monosodium glutamate and lead above permissible limits in the popular snack.

West Bengal – The West Bengal government has said that the West Bengal Food Department will convene a high-level meeting on 3 June to take a view on the ongoing controversy surrounding Maggi noodles.

Bihar – A Bihar court went one step further and ordered the registration of an FIR against Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, who have featured in the Maggi advertisements, and said they could be arrested, if required. The court passed the order in response to a complaint filed by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha who claimed he was taken ill after eating the ‘two-minute’ noodle.

Uttarakhand – The Uttarakhand Food Safety Department has also joined the cause and collected samples of the Maggi noodles from the company’s Pantanagar plant and other places in the state, sending them to the state government laboratories for tests.

Maharashtra – Food and Drug Administration in Maharashtra had said last week it will verify the claims about presence of lead in Maggi noodles before taking a decision on recalling the product.

Goa – However, Goa has declared that Maggi is safe for eating. According to a Prudent Media report, Maggi in Goa is safe for human consumption as the lead and monosodium glutamate in the products has been found within permissible limit, it says quoting the Goa FDA.

Nestle India has claimed it has got samples tested in an external laboratory as well as in-house and that the product was found “safe to eat”.”We have taken cognizance of reports of alleged lapses of food safety standards in Maggi noodles. I have ordered my Department to lift samples of these noodles from across the State for laboratory testing,” Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij told PTI in Chandigarh.

In response to the controversy, the company had also issued the following statement on 29 May:

We understand that consumers are concerned by reports that the authorities have found MSG in MAGGI Noodles. We do not add the flavour enhancer MSG (E621) to MAGGI Noodles sold in India. However the product contains glutamate derived from hydrolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour. Glutamate produces a positive test result in a test for MSG.We are fully engaged with the authorities in efforts to resolve the situation.

On Wednesday, reports said that a few more states have taken Maggi samples for lab testing. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu  joined the list of the states who have sent random samples of the noodles to the labs to be tested for presence of lead.

In Himachal Pradesh, an NGO — Umang Foundation — has sought a ban on the sale and advertisements of Maggi noodles in the state. He asked the the Himachal Pradesh government to collect samples of Maggi and conduct similar tests and ban it if necessary.

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Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.