Regulations
Maharashtra cracks the whip on Maggi
Maharashtra has cracked the whip on multinational Nestle's Maggi brand of noodles and samples collected from around the state have been sent for testing in government laboratories, a minister said Wednesday.
 
Food & Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat said that the samples have been picked up from shops and retailers in Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Pune, Nagpur and are being tested in government labs in Mumbai and Pune.
 
"The samples are being tested mainly for two aspects - the metallic lead content and the amount of ajinomoto salt which is used for the flavouring of the noodles. We expect the reports by Friday. We shall accordingly decide on the future course of action," Bapat told mediapersons here.
 
Maharashtra Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) officials said that 25 samples, including four from Mumbai and Thane, and 15 from Pune and the rest from other cities are being tested in the FDA lab in Mumbai and a central government lab in Pune.
 
"If the reports of the Maggi noodles and the accompanying masala in it are positive, then we have the powers to ban the product from sale or distribution in the markets. The FDA can also initiate action against the celebrities endorsing the product in such a case," an official, requesting anonymity, told IANS.
 
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan said that he had endorse Maggi in an ad two years ago but had not so far received any notice from any government authorities on this.
 
"When I get the notice, I shall fully cooperate with the concerned authorities," Bachchan said during an event Tuesday night.
 
Another brand ambassador and former film star Madhuri Dixit-Nene said she was very concerned after recent reports and met with the Nestle team on this.
 
"Nestle explained that they always place the consumer first and have the highest quality standards...Nestle has reassured me that they adhere to stringent testing for quality and safety and working with the authorities closely," Dixit-Nene has said in a series of tweets in the past couple of days.
 
Emphasising her own love for the product she has endorses, the retired actress added that like most of India, "I have enjoyed Maggi noodles for years."
 
Meanwhile, though there are no reports of any malls or food plazas withdrawing Maggi from their shelves, some shops and retailers have reported a sharp drop in demand in the past few days.

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Nestle India stocks down over nine percent
The controversy surrounding its best-seller brand Maggi noodles heavily dented the stocks of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) major Nestle India, declining by 9.05 percent or 616.35 points at Rs.6,191.10 per equity share from its previous close of Rs.6,807.45.
 
"The maggie issue has dented the stock heavily. The stock is generally an out performer even when the markets are down. When ever this controversy is resolved then we can see the valuations again rise," said Vinod Nair, head for fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
 
"But for short-to-medium term there will be a downward trend. However, long-term investors do not need to be worried as the stock still remains very attractive."
 
Nestle continues to maintain that its product was "safe" for consumption, and that reports of its samples testing positive for higher-than-permissible levels of some substances has created concerns in the market.
 
Several states have sent the product for testing for higher-than-permissible levels of some substances like 'Lead'. Some major departmental stores across the country have take-off the product from its shelves.
 
The Delhi state government has banned Maggi noodles for 15 days.

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With consumers wary, Maggi noodles off store shelves
With consumers wary of Maggi noodles, the sale of this popular snack which has been a part of the Indian palette for over 25 years, has taken a hit with chains like Big Bazaar removing it from their shelves.
 
While Nestle continued to maintain that its product was "safe" for consumption, reports of its samples testing positive for higher-than-permissible levels of some substances has created concern.
 
"It was a quick fix snack for my kids, especially when they were very hungry after school but now I cannot take their health for granted," Rameshwari Devi, a homemaker in Noida, told IANS.
 
The developments have also come as a rude shock to hosteller's for whom Maggi noodles were a go-to-food, especially at odd hours. "They were the easiest to cook -- very affordable for us. We now have to search for alternatives if they aren't safe," said Varun Mithani, a hosteller and college student in Delhi University. 
 
According to reports, states and union territories like Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala have sent samples of Maggi noodles for testing. 
 
This follows a recall order for a particular batch of the noodle brand by the Uttar Pradesh Food and Drugs Authority in April this year, after allegations that its samples were found to have higher-than-permissible levels of lead.
 
Amid such concerns, Nestle again sought to clear the air, saying they were officially unaware of any action by state governments, save the directive from Uttar Pradesh to withdraw the batch of February 2014 -- which had already passed the "best before" date.
 
"We have not received any official communication from the authorities so far," Nestle said in a statement on Wednesday, adding: "We are cooperating with the authorities who are conducting tests and awaiting their results."
 
Nonetheless, the concerns hit sales. Speaking to IANS, distributors and shopkeepers selling Maggi noodles in the National Capital Territory said sales have dipped over the past week. 
 
"I used to supply 100,000 packets of Maggi noodles every day to shops in and around Noida. But we have completely stopped supplies since the past three days," B.K. Mishra, a distributor, said, 
 
"For us, 80 percent of noodles sales were from Maggi alone. But now no one buys them. So, we are returning the stocks," added Akshay Kumar, who owns a grocery shop in the southern quarters of New Delhi.
 
Another shopkeeper Ram Prasad said just 10 packets were left at his store and that he would not stock Maggi until it was declared safe for consumption.
 
Even in areas around offices, where makeshift stalls make Maggi noodles and pasta, sales have taken a hit. "Customers don't take even two minutes to stop eating a product if they feel it is not good for health," said Suresh Sharma, a vendor, drawing from how Nestle has been advertising its popular brand: "Two Minute Noodles."

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