On this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions on recent events around MAGGI Noodles in India. We also have other resources of information that provide more details on specific topics, like An overview of the full sequence of events, What are the latest test results?, What testing methodology does Nestlé use?, What is the recall process?, The science behind the savoury taste, Food safety at Nestlé: in India and around the world and Resources for journalists.
Are MAGGI Noodles safe to eat?
Health and safety of our consumers is our highest priority. We have built our reputation around the world for 150 years by providing products that meet the highest food quality and safety standards. Nestlé has been in India for over 103 years and MAGGI Noodles has been a trusted brand in the country for over 33 years.
We strongly reiterate that MAGGI Noodles have always been safe for consumption as demonstrated by tests carried out in independent accredited laboratories, our own accredited laboratories (over 3500 samples have been tested) and by six (including USA, UK and Singapore) national food authorities. As per the directions of Hon’ble High Court of Mumbai, samples were tested at accredited laboratories and were found to be in order.
On 13 January, 2016, the Hon’ble Supreme Court directed the NABL accredited Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) to clarify if the results of sample tests on MAGGI Noodles show lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) levels to be within permissible limits. The results were forwarded to the Supreme Court directly on April 11, which state that the 29 tested samples showed lead levels within permissible levels. It also clarified that that no prescribed level for MSG exists and it can be used under Good Manufacturing Practices in permitted food products.
Why is there any lead at all in MAGGI Noodles?
Lead occurs in the earth’s crust and is present in air, soil and dust. The CODEX Alimentarius standards are a key reference for Nestlé. We test lead levels in our raw materials and source ingredients from regions with the lowest levels of lead.
The authorities have also set firm limits to ensure that any lead present in a finished product are within recommended food safety levels and safe to consume.
We regularly monitor all our raw materials for lead, including testing by accredited laboratories.
These tests have consistently shown lead in MAGGI Noodles to be within safe limits. In addition to testing both raw materials and finished products for lead, we carry out extensive research on lead and contribute to global efforts to assure safety in this area.
Food safety is Nestlé’s number one priority. We do more food testing than any other entity in the world and have many stringent controls to guarantee safety: starting from the raw materials we use, throughout processing to packaging. We adhere to the same quality standards wherever in the world we operate.
Learn more about how Nestlé ensures safe food.
If it’s safe, why did you recall the product?
In India we were asked by the regulator to recall the product and we have stopped selling it. In fact, before the order was issued, Nestlé India had announced it had stopped selling MAGGI Noodles. This is because concerns about the product led to confusion for the consumer to such an extent that Nestlé India felt it was necessary to take the product out of the market while we engage closely with the regulators and others to discuss the situation.
Why did you take so long to decide to recall the product?
Nestlé India's initial focus was to engage with the authorities to share information about our tests and to understand better why their results were different to the company's. Nestlé India then decided to take the product off the shelves nationwide in view of concerns around the product, which was leading to an environment of confusion for the consumer. This, Nestlé India believes, is not a conducive environment to have the product in the market.
Learn more about the recall process.
Why did the authorities find MSG in your product when it says 'no added MSG' on the label?
We do not add the flavour enhancer MSG (E621) to MAGGI Noodles in India. However, the product contains glutamate from hydrolysed groundnut protein, onion powder and wheat flour. Glutamate produces a positive result in a test for MSG.
Weren’t you misleading consumers?
It was not our intention to mislead consumers but we understand that the positive result in a test for MSG has led to concern among people who buy the product.
But by saying ‘no added MSG’ on the label weren’t you just trying to get around the labelling regulations?
No. We were not trying to ‘get around’ the labelling regulations. In response to consumer preference for products without MSG we took the decision that, where none was added, we should make this clear on the label by stating ‘no added MSG’. This is common practice followed by the food industry and complies with Indian food law and regulations.
It is clear that our labelling has led to some confusion and we are fully engaged with the authorities and the food industry to resolve the situation.
What is the difference between monosodium glutamate (MSG) and glutamate?
The amino acid L-Glutamate is one of the most abundant and important amino acids of proteins. It is found in all foods that contain protein, such as cheese, milk, mushrooms, meat, fish, and many vegetables. The natural flavour-enhancing levels of glutamate in food varies greatly, but are high in foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce and fish sauce.
Monosodium glutamate, abbreviated as MSG, was discovered more than a century ago by the Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda, who gave this unique taste the name “umami”, the fifth taste beside sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Today, MSG is mostly produced by a natural fermentation process that has been used for centuries to make such common foods as beer, vinegar and yogurt.
Are MSG or glutamate unsafe?
The MSG issue has been clarified by an Order dated 31st March, 2016 by the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI). According to the FSSAI clarification Glutamate is naturally found in several common foods such as milk, spices, wheat, vegetables etc. MSG is the sodium salt of Glutamic acid and one of the many forms of glutamate. Both CFTRI and the FSSAI stated that even when no prescribed level for MSG exists, the additive can be used under Good Manufacturing Practices in permitted food products.
We would like to state that the presence of glutamic acid comes from natural ingredients used in MAGGI Noodles. We do not add MSG as an additive.
So if it is safe, why say on labels that no MSG has been added to a product?
In response to consumer preference for products without MSG we have taken the decision that, where none is added, we should make this clear on the label. However, in view of the recent confusion, when the product returns to the market it will not contain this claim.
What are you doing to reduce MSG?
We do not add MSG (E621) to MAGGI Noodles made in India.
We do not plan to reduce the quantities of the natural ingredients which bring in natural glutamate into the product.
Who can I call if I need more information?
If you are an Indian consumer, you can contact consumer services at WeCare@in.nestle.com or on 1800 266 1188. If you are a consumer outside of India, please contact your local Nestlé consumer services team.
If you are a journalist, please contact the Indian press office at firstname.lastname@example.org and the global press office at email@example.com.
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