Nestle India fined $70,000 for high ash content in Maggi noodles

Food processing news : The highly popular Maggi noodles range finds itself in controversy again as an Indian district court slapped a $70,000 fine on its owner Nestle India after lab reports of its samples found excessive ash content.

The latest setback to Maggi noodles comes two years after it was temporarily banned across India after food authorities in the country found it to have high amounts of lead and monosodium glutamate.

Now, the leading instant noodles brand in India is back in the news for the wrong reasons following a judgment from additional district magistrate of Shahjanhanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The court fined Nestle India Rs 45 lakh ($70,000), three of its distributors Rs 15 lakh ($23,280) and two retailers Rs 11 lakh ($17072).

Inside a Nestle Quality Assurance Centre in Moga, India.

Inside a Nestle Quality Assurance Centre in Moga, India. Image courtesy of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.

This, was after samples collected by the Shahjanhanpur district administration in 2015, turned out to have higher content of ash than what was permissible as per the findings of a lab based in Lucknow in 2016.

The lab reports paved way for a number of cases against Maggi noodles’ owner Nestle India.

Prior to that, in May 2015, Maggi noodles were recalled by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Indian food regulator on the basis of having excessive quantities of lead and monosodium glutamate.

This led to a ban in the same year leaving the nation in shock as millions of Indians had grown up eating Maggi noodles for breakfast and as a snack. However, Nestle India got its act right by making some changes in its ingredients to ensure that Maggi noodles no longer posed a health threat. By the end of 2015, Maggi noodles with improved ingredients made a comeback and slowly regained customer’s confidence.

Now two years later, Maggi noodles has been dented again as far as customer confidence is concerned owing to the court judgment. However, one must understand that the samples are of 2015 and not from the present lot which had undergone an ingredient change.

Maggi on its website has issued a statement saying that no ash content is added to Maggi noodles and that the product range is 100% safe:

Maggi stated: “We wish to reassure our consumers that MAGGI Noodles are 100% safe for consumption. We strongly reiterate that at no stage of the manufacturing process, ASH is added to MAGGI Noodles.

“You may have seen some media reports on this issue. It is a case of applying standards basis an old advisory issued in 2015. Now, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has laid standards for Instant Noodles, Pasta and Seasoning. MAGGI noodles are fully compliant with this.

“While we have not yet received the order passed by the Adjudication Officer, we understand from the information available that the relevant samples are of the year 2015 and the issue pertains to “Ash content”.

“In the spirit of complete transparency and basis information available, we are uploading the analysis reports (which appeared to have been used by the adjudication officer) here on our website. As you will notice, MAGGI Noodles is fully compliant with the standards set by FSSAI.

“MAGGI Noodles have always been safe for consumption and will continue to be.”

Maggi noodles has been expanding its range quite aggressively to sustain its leading position with the instant noodles market populated with several players. The latest addition to the Maggi noodles family is the Maggi Nutri-Licious noodles which packs more nutrients and as a result turns out to be a healthy choice among all instant noodles available in the Indian market.

Maggi Nutri-Licious noodles has been launched in four flavors – Atta Masala, Atta Mexicana, Oats Masala, and Oats Herbs & Spices.

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