Nestle fined Rs 45 lakh as Maggi 'fails' lab test

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Nestle India is once again in a soup after its Maggi product samples collected from here were found to be of "sub-standard" quality.

The samples were collected late a year ago and Rs. 17 lakhs fine has been imposed on three distributors too. However, according to the district authorities, samples were collected past year in November and sent for tests, which had found ash content above the permissible limits of human consumption.

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Packaged foods maker Nestle said late Wednesday that its instant noodles brand Maggi is "safe", following the Uttar Pradesh district administration levying a fine of Rs 62 lakh for alleged "ash content" in the instant snack. After the laboratory report was released in 2016, seven cases were lodged at the additional district magistrate's court. Questioning the lab findings, Nestle India said, "The samples are of year 2015 and the issue pertains to "ash content" in Noodles". "We strongly reiterate that at no stage of the manufacturing process, ash is added to Maggi noodles", a Nestle India spokesperson said in an email statement. In 2015, Nestle India and other companies had represented to the relevant authorities, via industry associations, to set standards specific to instant noodles to avoid confusion amongst enforcement officers and consumers. On June 05, following an order from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Nestle withdrew all variants of Maggi noodles from the market, destroying over 35,000 tonnes of the product.

This turn of events is somewhat reminiscent of Nestle India's 2015 nightmare when Maggi noodles tested positive for high levels of lead and higher-than-permissible levels of monosodium glutamate, or MSG. "We regret the confusion it may cause to consumers". Ash percentage of 2.60 per cent was found in the tastemaker of Maggi Atta noodles and Maggi Pazzta samples were found to have ash percentage of 1.2. Then, too, it was an Uttar Pradesh lab that first brought bad news, though it was one operated by the state's Food Safety and Drug Administration.