Nestle India said Friday that it has decided to temporarily take its popular instant noodle brand Maggi off the shelves across the country. The decision came after several Indian states banned the product for allegedly containing high levels of lead that made it unsafe to consume.
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 allowed level of lead. However, Nestle said in a statement Friday that Maggi noodles were “completely safe” and have 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,” the company said in the statement. “Unfortunately, recent developments and unfounded concerns about the product have led to an environment of confusion for the consumer, to such an extent that we have decided to withdraw the product off the shelves, despite the product being safe.”
MAGGI Noodles are safe but due to recent developments on unfounded concerns we have decided to withdraw the products http://t.co/PFNKhoIBbX
— Maggi India (@MaggiIndia) June 4, 2015
According to Nestle India, Maggi noodles will be back in the market as soon as the current situation is clarified.
Maggi noodles, Nestle's fastest-selling food item in India, helps the company earn about $240 million in sales annually. But since several state governments conducted tests that allegedly showed that the product contained an excessive amount of lead, Maggi’s sales have plunged in the country. The tests also detected a chemical flavor enhancer, called monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which cannot be found in the product’s list of ingredients, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
“The action comes late, but according to me, it is the right thing for them to do. Any responsible company should do this,” Harish Bijoor, a local consultant who specializes in branding and business strategy, told Economic Times, an Indian business newspaper.
Maggi noodles had already been put under a 15-day ban in India’s capital New Delhi on Wednesday after test results deemed the product unsafe. The Delhi city government reportedly conducted tests on 13 samples of Maggi noodles, 10 of which showed unsafe level of lead and the presence of MSG.
Meanwhile, the ban has also sparked humor on social media platforms such as Twitter.
Here are some witty reactions of Twitter users on the issue:
— MANJUL (@MANJULtoons) June 5, 2015
With the Maggi ban, most husbands in India who claimed they could cook must now strike that off the CV. #MaggiBan
— Andrew Simoes (@Bombaymeister) June 5, 2015
— karansharma (@TheReaderWriter) June 5, 2015