New Delhi: The Delhi government on Tuesday said it would initiate a case against Nestle after it found that tested samples of Maggi noodles were unsafe for consumption. The development came as a Bihar court directed the authorities to file a first information report (FIR) against Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit, who are brand ambassadors of Maggi.
Also, the Haryana government on Tuesday took note of reports regarding the suspect quality of the noodle brand and ordered testing of samples. The noodle brand, manufactured by multinational company Nestle, is already facing cases in Uttar Pradesh related to food safety standards.
A Delhi government statement on Tuesday said samples of the noodles were found to contain lead in amounts exceeding prescribed limits. "Last week, a total of 13 samples of Maggi noodles were lifted and on test/analysis of the same it was found that in case of masala (tastemaker) part of the Maggi noodles, 10 masala samples were found unsafe having lead exceeding the prescribed limits. The prescribed maximum limit of lead is 2.5 ppm," the statement said. Stating that "five samples of masala were also having monosodium glutamate without proper label declaration", the government said it falls "under the category of misbranding".
Despite repeated attempts by IANS to contact Nestle, there was no response. Earlier on Tuesday, in a statement, Nestle had said the company regularly monitors all its raw material for lead, including testing by accredited laboratories which have consistently shown levels in Maggi noodles to be within permissible limits.
The Delhi government said in the statement that it has decided to initiate a case against the company for selling unsafe products and fine the company for misbranding of the product. "Officials of Nestle will also be summoned by the Delhi government.
The detailed and final report of the test/analysis is awaited and the government has decided to take further strict action in the case once it is received," it said. Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said 10 in 13 samples of Maggi noodles sent for testing were found to have excess amount of lead. In Haryana, Health Minister Anil Vij on Tuesday ordered testing of samples of Maggi noodles. Vij directed the health department director general to get samples of Maggi noodles from all districts tested.
He said that if anything was found lacking in the samples, the Haryana government would ask for withdrawal of all stocks. In Kerala, the state-owned Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) on Tuesday decided not to sell Maggi noodles at its 1,424 outlets across the state. Ordering an immediate halt to its sales, state Food Minister Anoop Jacob instructed officials to return the noodles to the supplier.
The minister's order, however, was not directed at banning the product in the state.
In Bihar, the court of additional chief judicial magistrate Ramchandra Prasad directed that an FIR be lodged against officials of Nestle and Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit in Muzaffarpur's Kazi Mohammadpur police station, said petitioner advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha. On Monday, Ojha had filed a criminal case in the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Muzaffarpur.
In his complaint, the petitioner said he purchased Maggi noodles on May 30 and fell ill after eating them. The central government had on Monday said its food safety watchdog has taken more samples of Maggi noodles across India for testing.
In response to a query on Madhuri Dixit being served notice by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Uttarakhand for endorsing Maggi, consumer affairs department's additional secretary G. Gurucharan had said the brand ambassadors will also be liable if advertisements were found to be misleading.