June,1,2015: After samples of “Maggi” noodles manufactured in March 2014 were reportedly found to contain high lead content and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), the instant noodles brand in under scrutiny by various State Governments and Union Consumer Affairs Ministry.
In April, the food regulator of Uttar Pradesh, UP FDA had ordered recall of a batch of about 2 lakh packs of the Maggi instant noodles due to higher than permitted levels of lead and food additives.
After Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra governments too sent samples of Maggi to the laboratory for food safety tests.
On May 29, taking a “serious” note of quality issues related to global giant Nestle’s famous noodle brand Maggi, the government asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to look into the matter.
Meanwhile, Hindi actors Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta, who endorse Maggi were served legal notice on the claims made in the advertisement.
On May 30, Madhuri Dixit tweeted that she met officials of Nestle and the company has reassured that "they adhere to stringent testing for quality and safety and are working with the authorities closely.”
The same day, the Food Safety and Drug Administration of the U.P. government filed a case against the manufacturing company, Nestle India Ltd., and five others, including the Barabanki store from where samples with excess lead were seized.
A complaint was filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barabanki, on May 30, against cine stars Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta for endorsing Maggi noodles. The complaint, filed by lawyer Santosh Kumar Singh, says that by endorsing Maggi the film stars have misled people.
The Uttarakhand Food Safety Department too collected samples of the noodle brand from the company’s plant at Pantnagar in the State.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has collected more samples of Maggi from different states for testing.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry Additional Secretary G Gurucharan says "brand ambassadors would be liable for action if advertisements are found to be misleading.”
Meanwhile Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan says action can be taken against manufacturer, advertising agency, and promoters/endorsers, if the advertisement is found misleading.
Popular Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit is liable for action for endorsing Maggi noodles, a senior official of the Department of Consumer Affairs told media persons in New Delhi on Monday.
Samples of the two-minute noodles, a favourite with children, were found with excess levels of lead and the controversial mono-sodium glutamate normally used as a flavour enhancer.
Answering questions in the presence of Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan during a press conference on one year of Modi government, G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary (Consumer Affairs) said everybody associated with the “misleading ad” put out on the nutritive value of Maggi Noodles was liable for action under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Mr. Paswan said action can be initiated by the government against the manufacturer (Nestle-India), advertising agency, and promoters/endorsers (Madhuri Dixit) if an unfair trade practice complaint is lodged with the National Consumer Court. Compliant can also be filed with Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Act for putting out a misleading advertisement.
Mr. Gurucharan said the manufacturer/promoter is liable to be fined and asked to put out corrective advertisements. “The brand ambassadors are also liable for action but the decision will be taken by courts,” he added.
The government is setting up an Authority under the Department of Consumer Affairs, which will suo motu take cognisance of such claims, Mr. Paswan said.
The Uttar Pradesh Food and Drug Administration filed a case against the manufacturers and the outlet selling the product in Barabanki last week after samples from a mega store were found MSG and lead in excess of prescribed limits.
Taking cognisance of the findings, the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry had asked the FSSAI to look into the matter. “The report is expected in two to three days,” Mr. Gurucharan said.
On May 30, Ms. Dixit had tweeted that concerned over the reports she had met the manufacturers and said they had assured her that there would be no compromise on the quality of popular snack.
She later tweeted, “like most of India, I have enjoyed Maggi Noodles for years. I was very concerned after recent reports and met with the Nestle team. They explained that they always place the consumer first and have the highest quality standards. They have reassured me that they adhere to stringent testing for quality and safety and are working with the authorities closely.”
The 48-year-old actor has been slapped with a notice from the Haridwar Food and Drug Administration that asked her to explain within 15 days certain claims that were made in the advertisement regarding the nutrition value of the '2-minute noodles'.
A lawyer in Uttar Pradesh has also lodged complaints against actors Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta for endorsing Maggi Noodles.