Stocks
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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Delhi government bans Maggi for 15 days
The Delhi government on Wednesday banned Maggi noodles for 15 days, after samples of the noodles were found to contain more than the permissible quantity of lead.
 
Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the government has asked Maggi producer Nestle to recall all stocks of the noodle brand from the national capital.
 
"We have asked Nestle to take back all stocks of Maggi noodles from every store in the city. We are putting a 15-day ban on sale of Maggi noodles in the national capital. The ban will be in force from today (Wednesday) itself," Jain told media persons.
 
He said the ban was imposed as samples of Maggi noodles were found to contain more than the permissible quantity of lead -- which is 2.5 parts per million (ppm).
 
"Ten samples out of 13 were found unsafe after tests," he said.
 
Jain said some officials from Nestle met him and gave their explanation on the issue.
 
"They said the lead content in Maggi was within the permissible limit which we (Delhi government) did not find satisfactory and decided to ban its sale in Delhi for 15 days," the health minister said.
 
"Five samples of masala (taste-maker) were also found to contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) without proper label declaration which falls under the category of misbranding," he said.
 
Jain said that after 15 days, the city government would reassess the quality of Maggi noodles and would allow it to be sold in the city only if it is found satisfactory, pure and in accordance with the norms.
 
He said samples of noodles of other brands will also be sent for tests.
 
"We have issued orders for checking samples of noodles of other brands also. The samples of Maggi noodles were tested in laboratories of the Delhi government."
 
On whether action will be taken against Nestle officials, he said: "We will work according to the food adulteration law and will initiate a case in this connection."
 
The detailed and final report of the test/analysis was awaited and the government will decide on further action once it is received, he said.
 
"We will not tolerate any kind of adulteration in food items. We will take strict action against the adulterators," Jain added.
 
Last week, 13 samples of Maggi noodles were taken for test/analysis, and in case of the masala (taste-maker) part of the noodles, 10 masala samples were found to contain lead exceeding the prescribed limits.

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