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UK launches Maggi tests for lead content

Guwahati: An expert in Assam State Public Health Laboratory examines the Maggi noodles in Guwahati on Thursday. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India have advised all state governments to test samples of Maggi noodles. PTI Photo   (PTI6_4_2015_000160B) *** Local Caption ***

London: UK’s food safety agency today said it has decided to test a few samples of Maggi noodles, after a number of reports said the popular instant snack sold in India was found to have lead content above permissible limit.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) agency, however, stressed the move was a precaution and there were no concerns over the safety of Maggi products sold by Nestle UK.

“The FSA has taken the decision to test for levels of lead in Maggi noodles as a precaution, following the incident in India,” a spokesperson for the government agency told.

“We are currently working with Nestle and the European Commission to investigate a report of higher than expected levels of lead and undeclared MSG in Maggi Noodles,” an FSA statement said.

Maggi, a popular brand of noodles manufactured in India, was banned in several Indian states after high levels of lead and excessive amount of taste enhancer such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) were detected in the instant snack.

Meanwhile, Nestle UK stressed that Maggi products sold worldwide were “completely safe.”

It said in a statement: “Nestle UK and Ireland is working closely with the Food Standards Agency and local authority. As a precautionary measure the FSA have requested testing of Maggi noodle products in the UK.

“The UK and Ireland market currently import only one flavour of ‘Maggi 2 Minute Noodles’ (masala flavour) from India. The batch of noodles originally tested by the authorities in India is not sold in the UK or Ireland. Other flavour Maggi noodles are not imported from India but from other Nestle factories in other countries.”

“Maggi Noodles are completely safe and have been trusted in India for over 30 years. The trust of our consumers and the safety of our products is our first priority.”

The ban on the instant noodles in Delhi is likely to spark fears among consumers in Britain, largely of Indian descent, who buy the ‘masala flavour’ pack imported from India from two major supermarket chains in Britain — Tesco and Morrisons.

“We have not been notified of any issue with this product. We are currently looking into it,” said a spokesperson for Morrisons.

Tesco called it a non-issue as the products “sold in the UK are not affected. The noodles sold in the UK are sourced from a different factory in India than that of the products in the report.”

The popularity of masala flavour in particular travelled with the NRIs based in the UK.

“I want to know if what we have consumed was okay and if we should use any remaining stock we have at home,” said a London-based IT professional.

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