In­dia tests Nestle noodles in lead scare

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

In­dia Wed­nes­day tested packets na­tion­wide of Nestle In­dia’s in­stant noodles af­ter high lead lev­els were found in batches in the coun­try’s north amid a mount­ing food-safety scare, an of­fi­cial said.

Food and con­sumer af­fairs min­istry of­fi­cial G. Gu­rucha­ran said test re­sults so far showed higher than per­mis­si­ble lead lev­els in noodles on sale in New Delhi, warn­ing of pos­si­ble reg­u­la­tory ac­tion against the com­pany.

“Sam­ples have been tested from all across the coun­try, we are get­ting the re­sults one by one,” Gu­rucha­ran, an ad­di­tional sec­re­tary in the min­istry, told AFP.

“For ex­am­ple tests in Delhi showed that 10 out of 13 sam­ples con­tained lead be­yond the per­mis­si­ble lim­its. Once we have all the re­sults, Nestle In­dia will be given an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain.”

Stocks of Nestle In­dia dropped more than 10 per­cent in early trade Wed­nes­day on the Bom­bay Stock Ex­change be­fore re­gain­ing some ground on the grow­ing con­tro­versy.

The find­ings in Delhi come af­ter in­spec­tors in north­ern Ut­tar Pradesh state said last week they found high lead lev­els in two dozen Maggi noo­dle packets dur­ing rou­tine testing.

The state’s food in­spec­tors filed a crim­i­nal com­plaint against Nestle In­dia, a sub­sidiary of Swiss-based gi­ant Nestle, at the week­end, while a sep­a­rate pe­ti­tion was filed against Bol­ly­wood stars who have ad­ver­tised the noodles.

In­stant noodles have long been hugely popular in In­dia, with Nestle a mar­ket leader.

Nestle In­dia this week re­jected the test re­sults in Ut­tar Pradesh, say­ing anal­y­sis con­ducted in its own lab­o­ra­tory of al­most 1,000 batches and in­de­pen­dent tests on a fur­ther 600 batches showed them safe to eat.

“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,” it said in a state­ment on its web­site.

Other state gov­ern­ments, how­ever, an­nounced Wed­nes­day they were con­duct­ing their own tests in the wake of the con­tro­versy, in­clud­ing Delhi, which sum­moned Nestle of­fi­cials to ex­plain the food scare.

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