India tests Nestle instant noodles amid fears of high lead levels
INDIA tested packets of Nestle India's instant noodles nationwide yesterday, after high lead levels were found in batches in the country's north amid a mounting food-safety scare, an official said.
Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry official G. Gurucharan said test results so far showed higher than permissible lead levels in noodles on sale in New Delhi, warning of possible regulatory action against the company.
"Samples have been tested from all across the country, we are getting the results one by one," Mr Gurucharan, an additional secretary in the ministry, told Agence France-Presse.
"For example, tests in Delhi showed that 10 out of 13 samples contained lead beyond the permissible limits. Once we have all the results, Nestle India will be given an opportunity to explain."
The findings in Delhi come after inspectors in northern Uttar Pradesh state said last week that they found high lead levels in two dozen Maggi noodle packets during routine testing.
The state's food inspectors filed a criminal complaint against Nestle India, a subsidiary of Swiss-based giant Nestle, over the weekend, while a separate petition was filed against Bollywood stars who have advertised for the noodles.
Nestle India this week rejected the test results in Uttar Pradesh, saying that analysis conducted in its own laboratory of almost 1,000 batches and independent tests on a further 600 batches showed them to be safe to eat.
Other state governments, however, announced yesterday that they were conducting their own tests in the wake of the controversy, including Delhi, which summoned Nestle officials to explain the food scare.
Southern Kerala state this week ordered government-run shops to pull all Maggi noodle packets from shelves until test results were known.