Many people have been accustomed to having Maggi for several years.
After the Food Safety and Drug Administration in Uttar Pradesh claimed that Maggi noodles’ samples contained Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG) and high amounts of lead, more than the permissible limits that could cause harm to organs in our body the Maharashtra and Gujarat government too has sent the samples for testing. With the row of Maggi escalating, Mumbaikars are unhappy as they may have to search some other alternative besides noodles for breakfast. Many of them have been accustomed to having Maggi noodles whenever they have been hungry. It’s easy to cook as compared to other Indian dishes which require lot of time.
“It will be a tough challenge to convince our kids to refrain from having Maggi and other instant noodles brand as they have been accustomed to it for several years. There should be some alternative food which can be served to our kids” said Sanket Shinde a father of a 4-year daughter.
“I take Maggi noodles in my tiffin as well, and love the curry flavoured noodle. I will not stop eating it, said a 5-year old,” Viren Mistry.
“Since, I stay in hostel, I am dependent on Maggi and other instant noodles brands for satisfying my hunger. I can store Maggi and consume it easily as we can’t cook food in hostel. If the government imposes a ban on Maggi then it will make our lives difficult,” said Shivani Sharma a Science student.
“He is just 4-years old. We used to serve him Maggi noodles when he was 2 years old. He has grown but still continues to love it. This ban will force us to find some other alternative food for him,” said parents of four year old Nihar Padwal.
“Biryani, curry masala’s also contains MSG to some extent. However, it not the only reason why Maggi is unhealthy as instant food is highly processed,” said Aparna Jain, housewife.
While the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSDA) have confirmed the test results, the FSSAI is yet to conduct its own investigation.
According to an online report published by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), “The term trace metal refers to the metals found in food. While some inorganic elements such as sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus are essential to man; elements like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic are found to cause delirious effects even in low levels of 10-50mg/kg.”
The result of test from Kolkata National Lab proved the increased amount of Lead and MSG in Maggi than what is prescribed said Food Commissioner on 31st May.
Dr Simran Saini, Nutritionist said, “High amounts of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can cause a gradual increase in blood pressure. It creates further problems for people who are already hypertensive.”
World Instant Noodles Association (WINA) has supplied some 200,000 packages of instant noodles as emergency ration to earthquake-stricken Nepal. This is the joint relief effort with Nissin Foods Holdings, WINA Governor.
China stands on the first place while, India ranks fourth in the global demand for Instant Noodles, according to the report published by World Instant Noodles Association of May 2015.
Since these instant noodles are made to bear a longer shelf life, they are highly processed. They are low on nutritive content; high on fat, calories and sodium; and are laced with artificial colours, preservatives, additives and flavourings.
“In most cases monosodium glutamate (MSG), a chemical preservative, may be present in instant noodles for their taste enhancing and preserving properties. Though dietary intake of these elements is allowed within a limit, regular intake of these can cause severe health issues,” said Dr Saini
“Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food’s] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycaemic loads,” Dr Hyun Shin, MD, is a clinical cardiologist.
“This research is significant since many people are consuming instant noodles without knowing possible health risks,” said Dr Shin
After the controversy, Nestle came out with a statement which said, “We use hydrolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour to make Maggi Noodles, which contain glutamate. We believe that the authorities’ tests may have detected glutamate, which occurs naturally in many foods.” It also said that in its routine tests done over the years, it never found Maggi containing more than 0.03 ppm of lead, adding that the batch that was tested was an old one (February 2014).
“If the regulatory authorities get serious, there will be so many more violations that will be detected. While the Food Safety & Standards Act is stringent, enforcement of it has been weak,” Bejon Misra, a noted consumer activist, says.
“Health of people is important, lead and MSG is unacceptable, it damages kid’s brains and organs. The government should be strict and enforce quality control and ban companies not adhering to the standards for future of kids and India depend on it,” said Nilu Gupte mother to a 10 year.
“The case of Maggie would be the problem with almost all ready-to-eat food products in India, and excluding the unorganised sectors selling pickles, papads, bhel, instant parathas, idli butter etc,” added Dr Somya Gupta.
“Of course, health of our children is important, though the test reports are yet to arrive. Meanwhile, I have stopped providing Maggi or any such noodles to my kid. Also the celebrities should have some morals, and they should not promote bad unhealthy products, you have a social responsibility, children get convinced quickly after watching these advertisements,” said Chitra Subramaniam, writer and author.
“Nowadays adulteration is found in most of the food products. MSG is not good for kids. It is used in China regularly. I would say don’t panic rather try and have those diet which will detoxify your body,” said Dr Jacob Thomas.