Why Maggi Is Banned In India
Nestle’s bestselling instant noodles, Maggi, has recently been banned in India, after it was found violating the food safety guidelines. As a result Nestle has decided to withdraw Maggi from Indian market. The main violations that led to the fall of the instant noodles giant are-
Presence of lead in the product in excess of the maximum permissible levels of 2.5 ppm.
Misleading the consumers by printing “NO ADDED MSG” on Maggi packets.
Release of oats masala noodles without risk assessment and product approval.
Nestle India stands the ground on printing the “no added MSG”, with Nestle’s global CEO, Paul Bulcke claiming that the product doesn’t get any MSG added separately. However he didn’t rule out the fact that traces of glutamate (MSG) were found in the product and claims that the detected MSG came from natural ingredients. While the Swiss giant said that it would remove the label, “no added MSG”, saying that it was being misread, the company could have informed the consumers about the naturally occurring lead contents in the product.
In light of the whole Maggi row, let’s take a moment to know what lead and MSG are and what adverse effects they can have on our health.
Lead is a naturally occurring poisonous metal. If consumed in large quantities, it damages vital organs and can prove fatal. Lead directly effects the brain and can result in detrimental neurological development in children. What makes it more dangerous is that there are no immediate symptoms of lead and there is no way to tell until it is too late. Lead can get into our food through various pathways. Fish can absorb lead through water bodies contaminated by lead drained by steel and iron industries. It may also be introduced to foods from lead containing dishware, or packaged food. Vegetables and fruits can also absorb lead from the soil which in turn is introduced in our bodies. Lead was also used in paints earlier, but it has now been banned.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
Maggi’s essence, the tastemaker, was found to have excessive MSG content. It is the sodium salt of an amino acid, called glutamic acid, which is used to enhance the taste. MSG causes the glutamate levels to spike in blood, leading to brain problems. Also the high content of sodium in MSG poses hypertension risk. Therefore using MSG as taste enhancer is not recommended.
After all nine Maggi variants taken off the Indian shelves, many other countries, like UK, have decided to test a few samples of Maggi noodles for any excessive lead content. Even though the government is doing their best to ensure food safety, it is our duty to protect us and our children from harmful eating habits and encourage them to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Although we can’t totally refrain kids from consuming fast food, it is our responsibility to ensure that we don’t replace their healthy bowl of food with some ready-to-eat instant snack every now and then. By staying clear of unhealthy food habits and a closer proximity to nature, we can save ourselves from the dire consequences of an irresponsible lifestyle and make our lives better and worth living.