Maggi removed from army canteens and CSE wants nutrition labels
GN Bureau | June 4, 2015
Even while Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan was taking credit for suo moto action of the government (for the first time after independence) in a matter like Maggi noodles, one Mumbai retailers' organisation on Thursday ordered all members to stop selling Maggi noodles.
The government had filed a complaint against Nestle India with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). He said the government, for the first time, was taking action under Section 12-1-D of the Consumer Protection Act, under which both the Centre and states have powers to file complaints.
On the other hand, the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association has told its 25,000 provision stores in Mumbai to stop selling Maggi till the results of the Maharashtra government tests are declared.
In Mumbai there has been a sharp drop of 50 percent in Maggi noodles sales.
The Indian army has asked its personnel to avoid Maggi and directed over 1,000 military canteens to remove stocks from the shelves until further orders.
Meanwhile, Delhi and West Bengal governments are testing other brands of instant noodles and chips as nation grapples with food safety concerns.
Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said that the tests will be done on other brands to see whether they conform to parameters. The health minister also said he proposed to make the food adulteration act more stringent.
Jain said the government has asked Nestle to recall the noodle packets from the national capital and announced a 15-day ban.
He revealed that the lead content found in the samples is beyond permissible limits. Only one of the thirteen specimens tested by the Delhi government’s food safety lab was deemed acceptable, with lead levels in ten of them exceeding the prescribed limit while five were inaccurately branded and contained taste-enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) without proper declaration.
Uttarakhand too has announced a ban on Maggi, while more than 10 states, including Maharashtra and Karnataka are carrying out tests on the product.
Apart from Delhi, the West Bengal government too said it is sending popular brands of snacks like Kurkure and Lays for testing.
In Himachal Pradesh officials picked up samples in several districts. Apart from Maggi, samples of chocolates and some dairy products were also collected.
Joining the issue that needs to be examined much deeply, the research and advocacy body Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has called for appropriate "nutrition fact labelling" on all food products.
As a consumer's right, what is there in a food product should be clearly mentioned on the pack with quantity of each ingredient reflecting the recommended daily allowance, CSE's food safety team programme manager Amit Khurana said on Wednesday.
CSE also welcomed the initiative of food authorities to test food samples for heavy metals.
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