More states ban Maggi as Food Min assures action

RSTV Bureau

maggiGujarat has become the latest state to ban the sale of Maggi noodles. “Gujarat has decided to ban the product for a month,” announced Gujarat Health Minister, Nitin Patel.

Gujarat is the third state to crack the whip. Uttarakhand and Delhi governments have also banned Maggi. Uttarakhand decided to ban the product after lab-tests found monosodium glutamate (MSG) present in some of the samples that were taken for testing.

Earlier in the day, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had assured an action if the snack food was found violating the rules.

“When I came to know about Maggi issue I directed the department and the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) to look into the facts and initiate action,” Paswan told  the press in New Delhi.

“As the matter concerns public health we lost no time in imposing a ban on the popular food product in Uttarakhand. An order pronouncing the ban and seeking immediate withdrawal of the product from market places is being formally issued,” Principal Secretary of Health, Om Prakash told PTI.

Delhi government banned Maggi noodles for 15 days on Wednesday. Nestle India, the manufacturer of Maggi, was asked to withdraw all Maggi noodles stock from the market. The government said it will take a fresh decision in 15 days after testing the new stock in labs. The decision came after top Nestle officials met Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain. In a press conference Jain said the decision to ban Maggi was taken after excess lead was found in 10 of the 13 samples taken for lab-testing.

“We have banned Maggi for 15 days but we have also ordered that samples of all other brands of noodles will be tested,” Jain said to the media. Jain also said the government will file a case against Nestle India in court as per provisions of the Food Adulteration Act and will compromise on issues relating to health safety.

On Tuesday the Kerala government ordered a ban on the sale of the product in government outlets. Several other states like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab and Telangana have begun the process of testing Maggi samples.

Not just the state governments, the Army too has taken the initiative and issued an advisory to the personnel to avoid Maggi. Over one thousand Army and Navy canteens have been asked to remove and set aside the existing stock until further orders.

Maggi is Nestle’s most popular product and because of this controversy, Nestle stocks took a severe beating. Nestle India’s stock fell by over 10 per cent on Wednesday morning.

The controversy began about a week ago, when Uttar Pradesh Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested some samples and found the presence of MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) and lead more than the permissible limit. Maggi now runs the risk of being pulled off the shelves across several states in the country.

(With inputs from PTI)