The Government did not ban Maggi instant noodles, but had asked Nestle to recall the product and give reasons for the high monosodium glutamate (MSG) level found in it. “They are yet to reply. They are not forthcoming,” Health Minister JP Nadda said during Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Friday.
Talking tough, the Health Minister said: “I would also like to make it very clear that when we told them (Nestle) to withdraw, we also gave them a notice that within 15 days, they should give an answer as to why their products should not be withdrawn and give reasons for it. Till today, there is no answer” He was replying to a question by Jaydev Galla (Telugu Desam) on why there was variation in testing processes and whether there was a standard protocol for testing food products in the country.
Nadda made it clear that all uniform protocols and those prescribed by Nestle had been followed in the tests done in the labs.
“There is no variation in the testing process. There is variation in the results and it is because of the product. We are not going to add lead on our own,” he added. “Out of 78 (samples), let me state that 30 were found to contain excessive lead,” he said, adding that enforcement of the Food Safety and Standards Act and regulations was done in “in overall public interest.”
“Tests conducted in Goa and Kerala tests did not fail. Maggi was exported from Nestle’s Goa unit. So, it reflected that some producing units of Nestle maintain high standard, some do not. We are for more stringent monitoring,” he said.
However, while reiterating that there was no compromise on food safety and security, Nadda said the government wanted to ensure that the industry does not suffer. “We are all there to see to it that the growth of industry takes place and the regulations should be self-regulatory,” he added.