Maggi noodles were banned in India last month, after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ruled the noodles were “unsafe and hazardous”. Some noodle packets contained “higher-than-allowed levels of lead” and Nestlé had failed to comply with the nation’s food safety laws, it said.
The food safety crisis sparked an investigation by the UK FSA, which confirmed yesterday (July 1) the noodles sold in the UK posed no food safety hazard.
“The FSA can confirm that results from testing samples of Maggi Noodles in the UK have all found that levels of lead in the product is well within EU permissible levels and would not be a concern to consumers,” it said in a statement.
Levels of lead
The agency said it tested the noodles as a precaution and that it had received assurances from Nestlé about its production methods. “Nestlé informed the FSA that the only variety of Maggi Noodles they import into the UK from India is the ‘masala flavour’,” it said.
“The FSA has now tested this flavour and others from the Maggi noodles range, as a precaution. As well as tests carried out by local authorities, the FSA has also asked Nestlé to provide it with test results from its own samples. All showed levels of lead to be well within EU permissible levels.”
About 900 samples were probed, sourced from Nestlé, local authorities and port authorities.
“The FSA can confirm that results from testing samples of Maggi Noodles in the UK have all found that levels of lead in the product is well within EU permissible levels and would not be a concern to consumers.”
Damage worth billions of dollars
Consultants Brand Finance warned the crisis may cost the food firm more than £127M and brand damage worth billions of US dollars.
Before India’s food safety ban, the Maggi’s brand was valued at £1.54bn ($2.4bn) and ranked the noodles as the 23rd most valuable food brand in the world.
Brand Finance calculated Nestlé’s decision to destroy noodles valued at £32M combined with a damaged brand, would result in a reduced brand value of £1.41bn ($2.2bn).
“Any health concerns raised by a credible source such as the FSSAI will most certainly damage customer loyalty and consideration of a food brand,” said Brand Finance consultant David Haigh.
Meanwhile, Nestlé India has received permission from the Bombay High Court to restart exports of Maggie noodles but products would stay off the shelves in the country, our sister title FoodNavigatorAsia.com reported on Tuesday (June 30).