More reports on: Government policies, Foods / beverages

Govt to look beyond Maggie into other foods, cosmetics

06 June 2015

It is not just Maggi, the government is all set to expand investigations into other top noodle brands and food products and beyond. The government also wants to probe other food and cosmetic products sold by companies like Nestle and Johnson & Johnson, through medical shops.

Minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Hansraj Ahir told newspersons on Friday that laws will be amended to stop sale of ''general'' products in chemists' shops.

Following the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) order on Nestle to recall all Maggie noodles from stores in the country, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Madhya Prasesh governments have banned the product after samples were found to contain unsafe levels of lead and taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Tamil Nadu government also banned Wai Wai Xpress Noodles, Reliance Select Instant Noodles and Smith and Jones Chicken Masala Noodles for 3 months, the Gujarat government banned Leong Hakka noodles brand for 30 days after samples failed laboratory tests.

The companies were also ordered to recall stocks from retail outlets.

"It was found that the four brands contained lead over and above the allowed levels," the release said.

Officials of the state commissioner of food safety ordered the ban under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, after clearance from chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a ban on Maggi noodles in the state on Friday.

Justifying the penal action against Maggi, Ahir said the government will not allow the ''sale of poison'' in India.

''Some products like Cerelac and Nestum of Nestle and baby powder and baby soap of Johnson & Johnson are sold through chemists. This will be stopped immediately,'' Ahir said. He said certain food products are sold at very high cost, while the cost to manufacture them is actually very low.

He said the government would soon amend the law to ensure that general products are not sold through medical shops. All non-medical items from government-run medical outlets will be removed immediately, he added.

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