This article was written by Kartik Aggarwal student of Shri Ram College of Commerce
MAGGI- A TWO MINUTE HAPPINESS
One of the most popular brands of noodles, relished by millions: MAGGI. Seasonings and instant soups owned by Nestle since 1947 had been spreading ‘KHUSHIYAN’ for more than three decades. “We might not be as good as home-made pasta but we sure are faster”, asclaimed by the brand, was indeed known to be a 2 minute instant noodles, thus making lives of the students, hostellers, youngsters and even small children easy and relaxed.
Of all the noodle brands in the nation, Maggi had dominated the market by around 85% share. But wretchedly, this brand has seen a sharp decline in the market share in some Indian states due to the tests that have shown the presence of undesirable ingredients in it, thus, deteriorating the reputation of both Maggi as well as Nestle. The brand Nestle has failed to keep up to the expectations of the consumers, thus fooling them around through its tagline, “Good food, Good Life!” Likewise, Maggi’s tagline “Taste bhi, Health bhi” is unjustified in the light of the findings that have broken the trust of millions of Maggi fans.
In May 2015,a case was lodged against Nestle India in a local court in Barabanki concerning safety standards associated with the Maggi product.A case was also filed in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM). Further, the case had been lodged against the company’s Nestle NagalKalan Industrial Area unit (Haroli, Una in HP), Delhi-based Nestle India Limited, an Easy Day outlet in Barabanki and the Delhi-based parent firm Easy Day and also against their FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) managers, Mohan Gupta and Shabab Alam.
REASON FOR DOWNFALL
The Uttar Pradesh FDA had ordered a recall of a 200,000 pack batch of noodles at the end of April, after a spot check which showed elevated levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavour enhancing agent, and lead 17 times above the prescribed limit which is 2.5 ppm.
HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CHEMICALS PRESENT IN MAGGI
- Higher content of the chemical can cause lead poisoning, also known as painter’s colic.
- It can cause anaemia, abdominal pain, and the concentration problem and heart palpitation among others.
- Long term toxicity can affect all organs, including kidney and liver.
BAN ON MAGGI IN VARIOUS INDIAN STATES
Maggi was removed from shelves across many Indian states.Owing to the disturbing findings about Maggi’s harmful ingredients, New Delhi government banned the sale of Maggi in local stores for 15 days since 3 June, 2015.On June 4, 2015, the Gujarat FDA banned the noodles for 30 days when 27 out of 39 samples were detected with objectionable levels of metallic lead, among other things.Assam banned sale, distribution and storage of Maggi’s “extra delicious chicken noodles” variety for 30 days since June 4, 2015 after tests carried out at the state public health laboratory concluded that it contained added MSG and unreasonably high lead content. Some of India’s biggest retailers like Easy day, Big Bazaar etc., have imposed a nationwide ban on Maggi. Subsequently, multiple state authorities in India found an undesirable amount of lead and resulting in it being banned in more than 5 other states in India. Following other states, maggi was banned in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and even in Bihar but it wouldn’t be banned in Karnataka for the time being, U T Khader, Minister for health and family welfare declared during a press meet on June 26.
BAN ON MAGGI OUTSIDE INDIA
Following the orders from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Food Safety Agency of UK launched an investigation to find levels of lead in Maggi noodles on 5 June, 2015. On June 6, 2015 the Central Government of India banned nationwide sale of Maggi noodles for an indefinite period due to it being harmful for human consumption. Even Nepal indefinitely banned Maggi over similar concerns. After a complaint by the Consumer Federation of Kenya, Maggi noodles was also withdrawn in five African nations- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.
It was revealed later that the US FDA had refused the import of the noodles in January 2015 on grounds similar to the reasons for ban in India. Incongruously, the Bombay High Court allowed the export of Maggi while the ban in India continued.
MAGGI BAN LIFTED
The Bombay High Court on 13th August 2015 lifted the countrywide ban on nine variants of Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles, saying the national food regulator had acted in an “arbitrary” manner and had not followed the “principles of natural justice” while banning the product. The court has ordered Nestle India to conduct fresh safety tests on the product before it’s re-launch in the market. The Indian unit of Nestle had challenged the June 5 order of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and a similar order by the Maharashtra Food and Drug Authority (FDA) directing it to withdraw all variants of the noodles, owing to the presence of excessive lead and added MSG. The court said that “we are still concerned about public health and public interest and therefore we are of the view that before allowing the Petitioner (Nestle) to manufacture and sell its product, Petitioner should send 5 samples of each batch which are in their possession to three Food Laboratories accredited and recognized by NABL (over a period of six weeks)”. Nestle also made a statement that it would not manufacture or sell the noodles. Though the court was requested to stay the judgment, it refused to grant the stay in view of the statement made by Nestle.
Further, A petition was filed by the government which has sought 640 crore as damage from the Swiss company accused of unfair trade practices with regard to Maggi which Nestle India has said it is confident of defending after getting a reprieve from the Bombay High Court on Maggi ban.