Health Service (DGHS) Director General Palitha Mahipala yesterday directed that samples of Maggi Noodles, particularly popular among children and other varieties of noodles be tested at the Industrial Technical Institute (ITI) to determine their lead content.
Dr. Mahipala's directive comes in the wake of the multi national global food giant in India deciding a fortnight ago to temporarily take the Maggi brand of noodles off the shelves countrywide.
The directive came after several Indian states banned the product which is alleged to contain high levels of lead-making it unsafe for human consumption.
Indian states, including Uttarakhand, New Delhi, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir have either banned the noodles or are conducting further tests to confirm whether the product contains higher than the permissable level of lead. However, the food giant said in a statement that Maggi noodles were “completely safe” and had been a trusted snack in India for more than 30 years.
“The trust of our consumers and the safety of our products is our first priority. “Unfortunately, recent developments and unfounded concerns about the product have lead to confusion among the consumers to such an extent that we have decided to withdraw the product off the shelves, despite the product being safe,” the company said in a statement.
The samples Maggi noodles have already been sent to the ITI for tests and other samples will follow.
Dr. Mahipala said the next step would be decided on the receipt of the test report.(Sandun Jayasekara)