New Delhi: With the Maggi controversy raising serious health concerns, food safety regulator FSSAI today ordered testing of noodles, pastas and macaroni brands such as Top Ramen, Foodles and Wai Wai sold and manufactured by sevencompanies to check compliance of norms.
In a letter to Commissioners of Food Safety of all States and UTs, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked them to test samples of noodles, pastas and macaroni (with tastemaker) on a set of comprehensive parameters.
Instant noodles. Picture used for representational purpose
Cake and masala/tastemaker should be tested separately. The states and Union Territories have been asked to submit reports by June 19.
"Various test results on Maggi and some other similar products have raised serious health concerns. In view of the same, it would be advisable to draw regulatory samples for similar products for which product approvals have been granted by the FSSAI... These samples should be sent to the authorised labs for testing," FSSAI CEO YS Malik said in the letter.
The letter follows FSSAI order on Friday banning all variants of Nestle India's Maggi noodles terming them as "unsafe and hazardous" for human consumption.
Nestle India recalled Maggi from the markets after several states banned the famous '2-minute' instant food brand as tests showed that it contained taste enhancer MSG (Monosodium glutamate) and lead in excess of the permissible limits.
As per FSSAI order, the companies whose products have been listed for testing are Nestle India, ITC, Indo Nissin Food Ltd, GSK Consumer Healthcare, CG Foods India, Ruchi International and AA Nutrition Ltd. The regulator has ordered the testing of products registered with it.
The products include Wai Wai noodles and bhujiya chicken snacks by CG Foods; Koka instant noodles from Ruchi International and Foodles by GSK Consumer Healthcare.
Nestle's Maggi instant noodles with nine variants as well as four variants of "Maggi Nutilicious Pazzta with tastemakers" would also be tested.
Others in the list are Indo Nissin's Top Ramen Atta Masala, ITC's three variants of instant noodles and AA Nutrition's Yummy chicken noodles and Yummy veg noodles.
FSSAI further said other such products (noodles, pastas and macaroni) that have not been assessed as per product approval procedure are "unauthorised and illegal" and cannot be sold for human consumption.
For such unauthorised products, States/UTs have been told to ensure that "such products are recalled, removed from the market and destroyed".
When contacted, ITC spokesperson said: "Stringent tests are conducted for the company¿s food products at ITC's NABL accredited Life Sciences & Technology Centre as well as at FSSAI approved, NABL accredited external laboratories."
In all these tests, the company's food products have consistently been found to be "completely safe" for consumption and in compliance with statutory regulations, the spokesperson added.
GSK Consumer Healthcare India Spokesperson said the company was "in complete compliance with the law" and follows Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for all manufacturing
CG Foods CEO GP Sah said: "Our brands meets all regulatory standards as listed by FSSAI. We are not closed to any tests and will cooperate with authorities if required."
Comments from other companies could not be obtained immediately.
The regulator asked all States and UTs to "draw samples of the food products and take action as per provisions of FSS Act and other applicable laws (including IPC) qua the food items not found conforming to the applicable standards."
FSSAI further said in the letter that "the safety of all other such products in these categories has not been assessed as per the Product Approval procedures. As such, the same are unauthorised and illegal and cannot be intended for human consumption".
For such unauthorised products, States/UTs have been told to ensure that such products are recalled, removed from the market and destroyed.
Besides general parameters like test for preservatives and synthetic colours, the food regulator has asked all the state food safety commissioner to test for metal contaminants including lead, copper, arsenic and cadmium.
Tests for certain quality parameters and naturally occurring toxic substances would also be conducted by the States/UTs.