LUCKNOW: Famous majorly amongst youth, the popular Maggi noodles is likely to be banned soon in Uttar Pradesh and the decision is expected to be taken after Monosodium Glutamate or MSG and lead were found further than allowable limits in Maggi samples.
A prosecution proceeding will soon begin against the Nestle that manufactures Maggi by the Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration department.
According to Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety in Uttar Pradesh, the samples were tested in a Kolkata lab and showed added MSG and lead, following which further tests have been ordered.
In the mean while, Nestle has denied of all such allegations. “We are aware of reports that tests by the local authorities have detected MSG in a pack of MAGGI Noodles. The authorities are continuing with their investigation. We have also submitted product samples to an independent laboratory. We do not add MSG to MAGGI Noodles and our label declarations are as per local regulation,” Nestle said in its statement.
What’s the issue?
The Lucknow FDA initiated an investigation and wrote to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in New Delhi on May 16, 2015 appealing to withdraw the licence for Maggi noodles.
FSSAI has been asked by the state regulator to order sampling of the product from different parts of the country to verify its quality.
After the officials tested Maggi samples at the referral laboratory in Kolkata, the test results proved excess of lead and excess amounts of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) than the permissible limit.
What is MSG? Why is it harmful?
A type of amino-acid, MSG is naturally found in several agricultural products and is often added to packaged food to improve the flavor.
Some reports have suggested of unpleasant effects of consuming MSG including upset digestive system, headache, nausea etc which are collectively called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (CRS).
Even though MSG is believed to be harmful for health, there has been no decisive proof regarding the unfavorable effects of the chemical.
However, food safety regulations in India have required the companies to state the amount of MSG on the packaging.
MSG in USA and Europe is considered to be a food preservative with quantitative limits. On the other hand, use of MSG has little to no restrictions in Australia and New Zealand.
According to a report by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ):
“There is no convincing evidence that MSG is a significant factor in causing systemic reactions resulting in severe illness or mortality. The studies conducted to date on Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (CRS) have largely failed to demonstrate a causal association with MSG. Symptoms resembling those of CRS may be provoked in a clinical setting in small numbers of individuals by the administration of large doses of MSG without food. However, such effects are neither persistent nor serious and are likely to be attenuated when MSG is consumed with food. In terms of more serious adverse effects such as the triggering of bronchospasm in asthmatic individuals, the evidence does not indicate that MSG is a significant trigger factor.”
Is lead present in Maggi?
While the allowable limit is 0.01ppm, the test results showed that the Maggi samples that were tested had 17 parts per million lead.
If more than permissible amounts of lead are exposed, there are chances that several functions of the body such as the central nervous system, kidneys, and the immune system are affected.
As lead can affect cognitive functions of a child, the effects are even worse for the kids.
Should I continue eating Maggi or quit?
It is yet to be answered as the FSSAI response to UP FDA’s request to ban Maggi is yet to be seen.
Even though it is unlikely that Maggi would be banned but several rounds of legal cases till a final call is taken is sure to happen.
MSG and lead undoubtedly have harmful effects on your body but at the same time, it should not leave a major impact if you balance your craving for the ‘2 minute noodles’ and have it occasionally. Maggi certainly is not a food item that one should have every week, let alone every day.
And how can we forget the basic rule of any food item: ‘Excess of everything is bad for your health’.