After Delhi, four more states -- Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand – on Thursday banned the sale of Maggi noodles, as the popular instant snack came under mounting scrutiny over food safety concerns.
The Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand governments banned the sale of Nestle's instant noodles for three months while in Gujarat the ban will be effective for one month after some samples of the food had failed lab tests, officials said in Chennai, Dehradun and Gandhinagar.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the state government banned the sale for one month till the receipt of reports over the fitness of the fast food for human consumption.
The four states also ordered the noodle manufacturers Nestle India to immediately withdraw the stocks.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are awaiting results of tests of samples of the noodles taken from the respective states before taking any action. Delhi had yesterday banned sale of the food item for 15 days.
Apart from Maggi, the Gujarat government also tested one sample each of instant noodles of Sunfeast and S K Foods and has banned the latter for a month as high lead content of 4 PPM was found in it.
"Twenty seven samples collected from different parts of the state were tested by Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration. The test has shown that lead was present above the prescribed limit while Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) was also present," Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel said while giving details of the lab tests of Maggi noodles.
Of the 27 samples, lead content in 14 of them was found to be 2.8 PPM to 5 PPM (particle per million), which is above the prescribed limit of 2.5 PPM. Presence of excess lead is harmful for health, he said.
“Monosodium glutamate, which should not be present in the product, was found in all the samples tested. For these reasons, the government has banned the sale and distribution of Maggi noodles for one month in the state. The government has also informed Nestle to withdraw all its Maggi stock from Gujarat," Patel said.
The Jammu and Kashmir government in an order said that all the District Magistrates have been directed to impose complete banon the sale of Maggi products in the state.
"This restriction will, however, remain in force for a period of one month or till the test report of sampling to be conducted by the concerned government department/agency is received, whichever comes earlier," the order said.
Jammu and Kashmir also banned the popular noodle brand.
“All district magistrates in the state have been asked to impose complete ban on the sale of Maggi products in the state,” Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, minister for consumer affairs and public distribution, told a news conference in Srinagar.
He said that Nestle India, the manufacturers of the Maggi products, has been directed to withdraw all the stocks from the markets of Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister said that the consumer affairs and public distribution department has conveyed these directions to all the concerned through a government order issued on Thursday.
He said the ban will remain in force for one month or till the test report of sampling to be conducted by concerned government agencies is received.
Choudhary said that five samples of Maggi products have been lifted from Srinagar for testing and sent to central testing laboratory Kolkatta.
He said in Jammu 1,27,010 Maggi packets have been seized by the officials.
The minister said that some other states have also banned the sale of Maggi products keeping in view the health and safety of the consumers.
Tamil Nadu government banned sale, storage and manufacturing of Maggi and three other brands of noodles for three months.
Nestle's Maggi, Wai Wai Xpress Noodles, Reliance Select Instant Noodles, Smith and Jones Chicken Masala Noodles were banned due to high level of lead content in samples and the companies have been ordered to take back stocks, the state government said.
In Uttarakhand, Principal Secretary Health Om Prakash told PTI that a decision to ban the sale of Maggi was taken late last night in public interest by the Food Security Department as 2 of the 300 odd samples of the food product failed laboratory tests.
The decision was prompted by the presence of MSG in the samples sent for laboratory tests to Rudrapur in Udhamsingh Nagar district, he said.
“As the matter concerns public health we lost no time in imposing a ban on the popular food product in Uttarakhand,” he added.
However, no lead content was found in the samples tested, the official said, adding that out of the 300 samples sent to Rudrapur laboratory, test results of a majority of them are still awaited.
In the wake of Maggi noodles controversy, Kerala government has brought more processed food products of other brands also under the scanner.
Random samples of various food products of different brands had been collected and sent to laboratories for tests, an official in the State Food Safety Commissioner Office said
With inputs from Mukhtar Shah in Srinagar.