Following the Maggi imbroglio and ban of Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles since June 5, all noodle brands are facing flak. FSSAI had earlier, on 8th June 2015, asked all State Officials (Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/UTs in India) to test all such products as per product approval procedure by drawing samples. Therefore almost all noodle brands are undergoing testing by state food authorities.
Tamil Nadu has already banned four brands of noodles while Gujarat has banned one brand of Hakka noodles after sample failed to meet standards in conducted laboratory tests. Now it is Bihar that has banned 11 brands of noodles as laboratory tests found traces of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in 11 samples and one sample was found to also have excess lead. The products will be banned for a period of one month from August 2 to September 1, for the time being.
The samples were collected from various parts of the state and were sent for testing to laboratories in Kolkata, Bhopal, and New Delhi as Bihar has no laboratories which can conduct the required tests. The laboratory tests on the 11 banned product samples were conducted in New Delhi. Since MSG is not allowed in Noodles & Pastas (Only dried products) as per FSS (Food Products Standards & Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, the noodles had to be banned.
The top brands banned in Bihar include brands like ‘Knorr Mast Masala Soupy Noodles’ manufactured by Hindustan Unilever Limited, ‘Foodles Multigrain’ and ‘Ata Masala Noodles’ by Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Healthcare, ‘Ching’s Manchurian’ and ‘Veg Hakka Noodles’ of Capital Foods Private Limited. Sunfeast ‘Yippee Noodles Magic Masala’ and ‘Yippee Noodles Classic Masala’ made by ITC Limited Foods Division. However, ITC announced in Kolkata that noodles manufactured by the brand under the ‘Yippee’ brand were found safe and had passed all the tests.
Sometime back Indo Nissin Foods Limited had announced that ‘product approval for ‘Top Ramen’ instant noodles is still pending with FSSAI. In view of the pending product approval, the FSSAI had asked the company to withdraw its instant noodles till they are given product approval. Now Bihar has banned ‘Top Ramen Super Noodles’, ‘Top Ramen Curry Noodles’ along with the ‘Curry Veg Noodles’ and its ‘Cup Noodles Veggie Manchow’, whose tastemaker was found to contain more lead than permitted.
The Bihar government has asked all these companies to recall their products from the market immediately. Besides sale, the companies are not allowed to advertise, publicise or store the banned products. Any retailers or distributors that do not adhere to the ban on sale purchase, display of these noodles after the ban will be subject to legal proceedings.