Maggi fails lab test again for having high "ash" content: Things the Indian consumer should know about testing packaged foods like instant noodles!

If the recent news reports are to be believed, Maggi has to pay Rs 45 lakh fine because it has failed lab tests for having more than the “permissible levels of ash”. But, the Nestle Maggi Indian Website Maggie.in carries a denial of this accusation by stating that Maggi noodles is 100% safe for consumption because the samples used were from 2015. In their statement, they have also claimed that in this case, an old standard, issued by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) the in 2015, has been applied to the test.

According to Nestle, Maggi noodles is fully compliant with the current standards set by the FSSAI for Instant Noodles, Pasta and Seasoning.

In 2015 after the reports on lead and MSG in Maggi, FSSAI had banned Nestle’s Maggi noodles over allegations of high lead content and the presence of MSG “above permissible limit”. Then after the samples were retested, Maggi was back on the shelves.

In June 2015, in the wake of the Maggi controversy, the FSSAI, in a bid to bring greater clarity, defined instant noodles as a product made from wheat flour/rice flour/ cereal/millet/legumes. They also advised that starches, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, edible protein and egg powder may be added, if required. Glutamate is naturally found in some common foods such as milk, spices, wheat, and vegetables.

So the FSSAI asked state authorities to launch proceedings against only those noodle or pasta companies that had taste-enhancer MSG in their products despite carrying ‘no MSG’ or ‘no added MSG’ label on the packets.

In the light of this new controversy, here are some of the important things to know about the food safety standards applied to different foods in India and how the foods are tested.

  • There are specific quality standards for all packaged foods including fortified atta, fortified maida, durum wheat maida, quinoa, fortified rice, instant noodles, tapioca sago or palm sago and pearl millet flour.
  • There are also tests to determine whether metal contaminants such as mercury, lead, copper, arsenic, zinc etc. are within limits.
  • From your roasted coffee to your chocolates, every packaged food is tested to make sure it is compliant with the standards issued by the food regulatory authority.
  • The nutrition labels, however, may not mention all the ingredients that the package contains like it is done in other countries.
  • So while the FSSAI may clearly define tests for permissible limits of ash in any packaged food, the nutrition label doesn’t carry any mention of it, so far, perhaps because there is no regulation which says that it must be mentioned.

Here’s everything you wanted to know about eating Maggi.

References: FSSAI.Gov.in and Maggi.in

Lab tests parameter FSSAI

http://old.fssai.gov.in/Portals/0/Pdf/Final_Lab_Parameters%2821-08-2012%29.pdf

Image Source: Shutterstock

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