I am personally disappointed with controversy over Maggi. Earlier too there were many such products like Coke and eggs which invited controversy and soon after some time the positive endorsement appeared on channel and newspapers, and things became alright. Maggi is convenient food for bachelors and kids, liked by every age group. Easy to prepare and tasty to eat, it has its own flavour. Maggi has replaced curry and chapatti in every house. It was two minutes solution to our hunger. Maggi noodles have been advertised as 2 minute noodles since 1982. The firm recently introduced new varieties of its noodles, for example ‘No MSG’, ‘Less Salt’, and ‘No Trans-fat’ to cater to the health conscious people. Maggi claims the new range contains 88% less total fat and 86% less saturated fat than the average of top-three (unnamed) 2-minute-noodle competitors. The new Maggi range also has considerably lower fat than its own previous formulation. So even health conscious people found the product comfortable, new oats maggi was blessing for most of them.
After samples of “Maggi” noodles manufactured in March 2014 were reportedly found to contain high lead content and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), orders have been issued by the State Food Safety and Drug Administration Department for taking “surveillance” samples of the product of recent make. The department made hue and cry over the ingredients but failed to expose the batch number of “Maggi” noodles manufactured in March 2014, so that buyer can avoid that batch number of “Maggi”. Also food control authority should check frequently “Maggi” as well as such type of food items where possibility of lead or other chemicals are above permissible limit. Three months back BARC (Bhaba Atomic Research Centre) exposed bottle manufacturing chemical point of view, drinking water bottles, which are readily available and is very dangerous for health. But still same bottles are available in the market. Some colour (lead contained colour) plastic carry bags are available (especially in village or small town), which is very dangerous.
The March 2014 samples were picked up from a store (Easy Day) in Barabanki on a complaint which was not specified by the Food Safety Department. Tests conducted by the State Food Laboratory showed lead content beyond the permissible limit. The noodles contained lead beyond the permissible limit of 0.01ppm. The report was sent to the Central Food Laboratory in Kolkata, which confirmed the findings. Subsequently, the licence of the shop operator was suspended on April 24, 2015. The operator filed an appeal with the Commissioner (Food Safety) and the order was stayed on April 30 on the plea that he is not the manufacturer of the product. The store reopened on May 1.
Now a district court in Muzaffarpur directed police to register an FIR against two Nestle officials and film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, who have featured in the Maggi advertisements and arrest them if required. God knows what happened to the courts, may be they want to be in news by calling these film personalities to court. Actually brand ambassador should not be punished. Because Maggie was a renowned brand for so many years and people are consuming it without complaining. It is surprising that product is sold and there are no pre-tests made on it. It’s very serious matter and government shall not only take a legal action against Nestle rather they should be penalized with big fines so no other company ever think about indulging in illegal acts in India. Moreover why harass these actors, who are paid to act and endorse the product. Government should actually act against Food Safety Department by probing the matter further and questioning their integrity. Now suddenly someone tested it and found something wrong, the question comes to food safety department, what they were doing all these years? How can a company get a license without the product being tested? It’s completely rubbish to punish the brand ambassadors because the way we are and were believing Maggie in the same way they also believed on the report tested by the food Testing authority.
Foods, beverages and snack items of mass consumption especially made for children who are the easy target for marketing, must be subjected to strict quality control tests approved by statutory bodies on the lines of US FDA for the quality of pack, date of manufacture/ packing, expiry dates, with compulsory display of nutritious contents. The Kirana stores and petty shops are flooded with cheap quality products with packings that say nothing about these requirements, with zero inspection. The same thing applies to mushrooming eateries, mobile and small outfits located in unhygienic surroundings. There are no checks on how they are prepared, stored and distributed to the gullible for consumption. The claim that these stalls generate employment in the unorganized sector cannot be a ground for these business establishments to flourish with impunity. The Government should intervene to urgently remove the health hazards or bring them under strict regulations.