India’s food safety regulator on Wednesday said Nestle India has not been given a clean chit regarding its popular Maggi noodles and that its ban order of June 5 was still operative despite a certified lab in Karnataka reportedly finding the snack to be safe.
“It is clarified in the first instance that FSSAI has not given any clean chit regarding the safety of Maggi Noodles,” the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said in a statement, reacting to reports that a laboratory in Mysore had found the samples to be safe.
The watchdog also said that Nestle India has not shared with it the details of the test reports from the UK and Singapore, which purportedly had said that samples of Maggi noodles tested in those countries were found to be safe for consumption.
The statement said that the Food Safety Department of Goa had drawn five samples of Maggi noodles pursuant to a May 25 communication issued by the watchdog to all safety commissioners across the country.
These samples, were initially sent for testing to the Food and Drugs Laboratory of Goa and upon examining the reports received on June 1, it was found that the permissible limit of lead had been wrongly taken 10 parts per million, against 2.5 parts per million, it said.
The results reported by the lab also did not specify the actual lead content in the samples after which clarifications were sought from the state’s food safety authority.
“The Food Safety Department of Goa subsequently sent one part of the said samples to the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore where the lead has been found to be within permissible limits,” it said.
“But a perusal of the test results from CFTRI, Mysore shows that the said samples have not been tested for MSG (mono-sodium glutamate),” it added.
“In any case, the test results of Goa samples had no bearing on the order dated 5th June, 2015 as the samples tested qua Goa were not assumed to be unsafe while passing the recall order by FSSAI. As such, the present test reports do not have any bearing on that order.”
The statement also sought to clarify that out of five units where Nestle was manufacturing Maggi noodles, only one at the Bicholim in Goa was catering to exports to eight countries. It also said four out of the five samples taken by Goa for testing were from this factory.
Asked for the response regarding the reports from Goa, a Nestle spokesperson said the company had only received information on the matter via media reports that a lab approved by the food safety authority had found Maggi noodles to be compliant with the standards.
“The matter is sub-judice and we cannot comment further,” th spokesperson added. The reference was to the ongoing hearing in the Bombay High Court.
Maggi noodles had been banned on June 5 after allegedly high amount of lead and MSG were found in the samples. Following that, Nestle withdrew all the variants of the noodle, while continuing to maintain that its products were safe.