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Nestle India recalls Maggi from shelves; maintains it’s safe

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MUMBAI: It comes as no surprise that Nestle Global CEO Paul Bulcke is in India for damage control and takes stock of the situation here. Having reduced production by a third, sales halved for the brand with a 75 per cent market share and market price plunging by nine per cent in a day, Nestle India’s Maggi is indeed seeing a slow boil.

In a statement, the MNC said that it had decided to withdraw the product from shelves across India.

Addressing the media in a press conference held in Delhi today, Bulcke said that the company applied the same quality standards everywhere in the world. “We do not add MSG in Maggi noodles and it is safe for consumption in India,” he said.

Speaking about recalling the product from the market, Bulcke said, “What we do here is only with the consumer in mind. I don’t feel this is the right environment to have the product on shelves.”

Additionally, India’s central food safety regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has now ordered Nestle India to recall nine Maggi variants from the market.

Justifying its stance Nestle has said in an earlier statement that the batch in which the UP government found lead was an expired batch. The company’s reasoning remains restricted to testing the product in their labs and some external labs as well. However, as many as six Indian state governments have not accepted their testing and have called for a ban for the noodles brand.

“We are aware of media reports that say a case has been filed against us by the authorities in Uttar Pradesh. On receipt of the official notice we will take appropriate action under the guidance of our legal advisors. We cannot comment any further at this stage,” the company had said.

The company, like its CEO Bulcke, has maintained that there was no added flavour to its product. “We do not add the flavour enhancer MSG (E621) to Maggi Noodles in India. However, the product contains glutamate from hydrolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour. Glutamate produces a positive result in a test for MSG,” said Nestle India.

In light of the trust of its consumers and the safety of its products being Nestle’s first priority, recent developments and unfounded concerns about the product has led to an environment of confusion for the consumer, to such an extent that the product has been withdraw from the shelves, despite the company claiming it to be safe.

While it is unlikely that this controversy will die down in “2 Minutes,” Maggi Noodles nonetheless promises to come back in the market as soon as Nestle India takes corrective measures in order to get out of this imbroglio.

After all the hullabaloo about Nestle withdrawing nine variants of its noodle brand from the shelves, the latest development in the Maggi controversy is that the government has asked the company to stop further production, processing, import, distribution and sale of the product. 

The FMCG major was also asked to withdraw and recall the food product “Maggi Oats Masala Noodles with Tastemaker” and any other product for which risk assessment has not been undertaken and product approval granted.

The FSSAI did not find a satisfactory response from Nestle India's representatives, who were given a hearing on 4 June by FSSAI chairman and CEO to seek their response in the matter and hence this decision was taken.

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