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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

As Maggi scare boils, more states order test, Delhi bans sale..........

The many troubles of Maggi continued on Wednesday as more governments followed other states to send Maggi samples to labs to test for its troubling levels of lead content and stores turned away from selling instant noodles. The Delhi government
 cracked down most stringently on one of Nestle India's most popular products in the country, banning it in the national capital.
Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain on Wednesday held a meeting with officials from Nestle India whom he had issued summons to. This follows Delhi government's announcement of their lab tests of collected Maggi samples, in which the lead levels far exceeded the safe, permissible limits. One of those officials was Nestle India's head of corporate communications Sanjay Khajuria who, post the meeting, told the media that the company had made their presentation to the minister and had asked for a review.
However, the health minister later told the media that the government was banning Maggi in Delhi for the next 15 days, striking a huge blow to Nestle India's immediate prospects. "We are not fully satisfied with the submission given by Nestle officials today morning. The government has imposed a ban on Maggi for 15 days," said Jain told media, adding that in one day no Maggi would be found in stores. In its official statement, the Delhi government said the company had been asked to withdraw the product from the market immediately and that it can be reintroduced "subject to its samples confirming to food safety standards."
Even the Army issued warning about the noodles, removing it from its CSD stores.
It wasn't just the government giving grief to Nestle but the private sector too. The Future Group, that runs chain stores such as the massive Big Bazaar, Nilgiris and Easyday, decided to remove Maggi from its shelves "in the interest of consumer sentiment", claimed the group.
Meanwhile, after rumours emerged that tests ordered by Maharashtra government found Maggi safe and conforming to FDA standards, state FDA commissioner Dr Harshadeep Kamble clarified that no clean chit has been issued, and they are still in the process of analysing samples. Of the 15 samples given for testing, results of eight will arrive by Friday evening, while the rest will be in on Monday. The government said that testing Maggi itself is a costly affair and requires usage of platinum bowls, each of which costs Rs 3.5 lakh. Maharashtra labs have 13 such bowls, but are now trying to procure two more. Also, the delay in the results is due to procurement of ultrapure nitric acid which costs up to Rs 25,000 for 500 ml. They require at least two more litres of such nitric acid.
Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan said on Wednesday, "We have written to the Food Safety and Safety Authority of India and they will take some time to prepare their report on the whole issue. I have asked them in writing to conduct tests and carry out a thorough investigation into the matter. Consequently, action will be taken."
Paswan also spoke about the issue of prosecuting celebrity brand ambassadors of Maggi, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Priety Zinta, saying, "there are two matters at hand. One pertains to misleading consumers through advertisements, the other what the exact contents of the product are. Currently, we are trying to investigate if the product has contents other than those mentioned on the packaging."