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FDA tests 27 samples of pasta, noodles, finds ‘misbranding’

MSG, ash content found to be misleading; notice issued to companies; fine to be levied.

maggi ban, maggi news, maggi ban news, maggi sale, maggi ban in india, maggi test, maggi FDA, FDA lab, FDA upgradation, FDA lab upgradation, BKC, mumbai news, india newsLatest laboratory tests on 27 samples of pasta and noodles variants of various brands, by the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have found that at least 25 of the total samples had presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) though the package’s labels mentioned ‘No Added MSG’.

Officials said a notice had now been issued to brands such as ITC, Nestle, Chings and Ala Masala under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 for ‘misbranding’.

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“We have already conveyed this to these companies and they have assured to take corrective measures very soon,” said FDA Commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble. According to FDA officials, a fine will be collected from the companies as per the Act.

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In June this year, the FDA had begun an intensive drive to test packaged food items. Following nationwide laboratory reports showing presence of excessive lead and MSG in Maggi noodles, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had ordered states to conduct laboratory analysis of other brands manufacturing noodles, pasta and other quick processed food items to find any possible contraventions.

The samples of Wai Wai noodles, Nissin’s Top Ramen noodles, ITC’s Yippee, Foodles’ Ala Masala noodles, Nestle’s Tomato Twist and Masala Penne pasta had been randomly collected from across Maharashtra for laboratory analysis in June.

“None of the samples have lead beyond permissible limits. But there were other contraventions. Certain quantities in a few samples were beyond what was mentioned on the label of the package,” said G Parlikar, Assistant Food Commissioner at FDA.

While investigations are still on, Parlikar said the ash value was in excess to what was printed on the label in certain samples. Ash value in flour affects the colouration of noodles. According to experts, low ash content is considered desirable for noodles’ colour and quality. Another contravention found in the samples was presence of MSG, though the labels on packages carried a disclaimer stating there were ‘no added MSG’.

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MSG is a flavour enhancer and a preservative that has been labeled “generally recognised safe” by the US FDA. Experts have, however, said MSG may have side effects such as headaches, shortness in breath, and muscle weakness.

Two samples that cleared the laboratory tests were Wai Wai and Top Ramen noodles in which neither excessive MSG nor higher ash content was found.

According to FDA officials, a fine may now be collected from the other brands for ‘misbranding’, which may extend up to Rs 5 lakh. Misbranding essentially means printing wrong information on the label.

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Meanwhile, following clearance to Maggi noodles in the latest laboratory results, FDA officials said routine lab tests would be carried out once the noodles brand hit the market to ensure FSSAI norms were being followed. Emails to ITC and Nestle elicited no response.

tabassum.barnagarwala@
expressindia.com

First published on: 09-11-2015 at 12:59:57 am
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