Months after the Maggi storm, the Uttar Pradesh food safety department has found samples of some other instant noodle brands ‘substandard’ with ash content in the tastemaker exceeding the prescribed limits.
“The samples of Knorr Soupy Noodles, Horlicks Foodles Noodles and Ching’s Hot Garlic Instant Noodles were picked up from a mall in the city in May last year for testing and its report was received about a fortnight ago,” said Sanjay Singh, the food safety officer of Barabanki district.
The samples were sent to the government Food Analysis Lab in Lucknow where it was found that “total ash of the tastemaker exceeds the maximum prescribed limits … hence the samples are substandard,” Singh said.
Against the prescribed limit of 1%, ash content was found to be 1.83% in Ching’s noodles, while in Foodles it was 2.37% and in Soupy noodles it was 1.89%, he claimed.
Notices were sent to all the three companies a week ago giving them a month’s time to make an appeal, he said.
Responding to a question, Singh said the report did not mention the health hazards caused by ash content higher than prescribed limits.
When asked for comment on the issue, a GSK Consumer Healthcare spokesperson said: “We manufacture Foodles as per product approvals received by us from FSSAI and manufacturing licences received by our third party manufacturer from the authorities. Foodles available in the market have been manufactured in accordance with this product approvals.”
Capital Food, which markets Ching’s Hot Garlic noodles, could not be reached for comment.
When contacted, an HUL company spokesperson said: “With reference to the analysis reports of the UP Food Safety Authority, we wish to clarify that the conclusion that the product is ‘substandard’ is incorrect. We will be making appropriate representation with the regulator.”
In May last year, the UP food safety department had found high lead content and presence of taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) in samples of Maggi noodles.
Later in June, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned Maggi noodles, alleging that the instant noodles were “unsafe and hazardous” due to higher than permissible lead content and presence of MSG.
Nestle had then pulled the product off shelves. The instant noodle brand made a comeback in November after passing tests at three government labs, after which the Bombay high court lifted the ban.