Withdrawing Maggi from Indian market

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With state after state banning Maggi over the presence of lead and ‘MSG’, Nestle on Friday said it is withdrawing the product from the Indian market due to “unfounded confusions” that has affected the consumer trust, but maintained that its noodles are safe for consumption.

The chief executive of Nestle, Paul Bulcke said the company will work with Indian authorities to resolve the ‘confusion’.Nestle global CEO Paul Bulcke flew in from Switzerland to take stock of the situation following Maggi was banned in states such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, among others.

Amid concerns over higher-than-allowed levels of lead in the product, Nestle has decided to take Maggi off the shelves in India, saying the ‘environment of confusion’ is not conducive to have the product in the market.

Unfortunately, recent developments and growing concerns about the product have led to confusion for the consumer to such an extent that we have decided to take the product temporarily off the shelves, inspite of it being safe,” Mr. Bulcke said.

While he ruled out challenging the test results by the Indian authorities, he said the company will work with them to resolve the ‘confusion’.

After Delhi, four more states – Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand – banned the sale of Maggi noodles, after concerns were raised over presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead beyond permissible levels in the product.

The Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand governments banned the sale of Nestle’s instant noodles for three months while in Gujarat the ban will be effective for one month after some samples of the food failed the lab tests.

In J&K, the state government banned the sale for one month till the receipt of reports regarding the fitness of the fast food for human consumption.The four states also ordered the noodle manufacturer Nestle India to immediately withdraw all the stock.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are awaiting results of tests of samples of the noodles taken from the respective states before taking any action. Delhi had yesterday banned sale of the food item for 15 days.Apart from Maggi, the Gujarat government also tested one sample each of instant noodles of Sunfeast and S K Foods and has banned the latter for a month as high lead content of 4PPM was found in it.

Stating that Nestle applies same quality standards and same food safety and quality assurance systems everywhere in the world, Mr. Bulcke said the company’s 8,000 employees globally work to ensure safety of products, including 350-400 in India.

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