A Mumbai retailers' organisation on Thursday ordered all members to immediately stop stocking or selling Maggi noodles till the air over its safety aspects is cleared.
"We have directed all our 25,000 provision stores to stop stocking and selling Maggi till the results of the Maharashtra government tests are declared," Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) president Viren Shah told IANS.
"All food and provision stores are requested to stop selling Maggi products till the same is replaced by the company and certified by the government authority to be safe for consumer," the directive issued on Thursday morning said.
Besides, all other retailers have also been urged to halt Maggi sales with immediate effect, he added.
In the past few days, Shah said, retailers have reported a sharp drop of 50 percent in Maggi noodles sales.
The development came a day after the Maharashtra government cracked the whip on multinational Nestle's popular Maggi brand of noodles and sent samples collected from around the state for testing in government laboratories.
Food & Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat has said the test results are expected on Friday, and depending on the outcome the government will take further steps.
The samples have been picked up from Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Pune, Nagpur and are being tested in government labs in Mumbai and Pune.
"The samples are being tested for metallic lead content and the amount of ajinomoto salt which is used for flavouring the noodles. We expect the reports by Friday. We will accordingly decide the course of action," Bapat had told media persons on Wednesday.
Maharashtra Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) officials said that 25 samples, including four from Mumbai and Thane and 15 from Pune, 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 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," the official, requesting anonymity, said.
Referring to the losses suffered by retailers, Shah said it hardly matters since the dealers' margin on Maggi is barely 10 percent.