New Delhi: Unfazed by mounting trouble over the alleged presence of lead and MSG in Maggi noodles, Nestle today said the product is safe but is withdrawing it from the Indian market as “unfounded reasons” have created “confusion” affecting consumer trust.
Nestle global Chief Executive Paul Bulcke, who flew in from Switzerland to take stock of the situation after Maggi was banned in several states, said the company will cooperate with all authorities to resolve issues.
“We felt unfounded reasons resulted in confusion and the trust of consumers was shaken,” he said in a press conference where reporters pounded him with questions on the high content of lead and MSG in Maggi.
He said lead in general was omnipresent in the environment and the content in Maggi noodles was way below the permissible limits.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), he said, was not added by Nestle in Maggi but was coming from natural ingredients. The press conference coincided with the central food safety regulator FSSAI ordering recall of all nine approved variants of Maggi instant noodles from the market, terming them “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption.
Reiterating that the company’s instant noodles are safe, Bulcke said: “We apply the same quality standards and methods in the world here in India too. Our tests have found that Maggi is absolutely safe.”
Asked whether he was questioning the testing standards of the labs of regulators in India, he replied in the negative. All that the company was trying to do is to sit with the authorities and discuss issues in a bid to sort them out, he said. Bulcke said Nestle India conducted tests over 1,000 batches of Maggi noodles at its own labs accredited labs and over 600 batches at external laboratories. All the results indicate that Maggi Noodles are safe and well within the regulatory limits established in India.
He said the company is cooperating with authorities in its efforts to “bring Maggi on the shelves as soon as possible”. The company declined to share details of how many batches and packets it is withdrawing from the market and how much it would affect its sales in India. “Our main focus is to win the trust of customer,” Bulcke said.