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Nestle's Maggi under scanner over MSG and lead conent

19 May 2015

Maggi, which has been Nestle's most popular product, is now  under the scanner due to the content of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) and lead above permissible limits.


According to market reports, the inquiry was started by the Lucknow Food Safety and Drug Administration, which wrote to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) asking them to cancel Nestle's license to make Maggi.

The FSDA had also tested samples at Kolkata's referral laboratory and found MSG and lead in excess of permissible amounts.

According to reports Nestle had denied the allegations and said it did not add MSG or lead in the noodles, and the glutamate present in the product might have come from naturally occurring sources.

The company also said that there was no specified limit for MSG or glutamate in edible products.

Meanwhile, The Times of India reported that the test results showed Maggi contained 17 parts per million lead (PPM) of MSG, as against the permissible limit of 0.01 PPM.

According to health experts such additives could be harmful for health especially in small children. The temporary side-effects of the chemical could include, nausea, headaches, burning sensation of the mouth and neck, an upset stomach and weakness in the body, reported MensXp.

Denying the reports a Nestle spokesperson said,  "We do not add MSG to Maggi Noodles, and glutamate, if present, may come from naturally occurring sources. We are surprised with the content supposedly found in the sample as we monitor the lead content regularly as a part of the regulatory requirements. All the tests at our own accredited laboratories as well as those by independent external accredited laboratories have consistently shown the results to be well within the permissible limit."

According to the US Food and Drug Administration website, monosodium glutamate, the sodium salt of the common amino acid glutamic acid, is naturally present in our bodies, and is present in many foods, such as tomatoes and cheeses, according to the FAQ page on the site said.

However, there was no need to press the panic button over MSG content in Maggi. According to the site, "FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be ''generally recognized as safe'' (GRAS).

"Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions."

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