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Uncertainty continues to loom over Maggi as FSSAI denies giving clean-chit

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Uncertainty continues to loom over Maggi as FSSAI denies giving clean-chit

There seem to be no respite to the ongoing Maggi crisis. Even though a ray of hope appeared on Tuesday, when there were reports that Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) approved labs, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) found Maggi noodles safe for consumption. But it got contradicted with a statement issued by the food regulatory body stating they have not given any clean chit or declared Maggi safe.

Nestle India stock which reacted positively on Wednesday and was up almost 8%, took a U-turn and dipped 6% to end at Rs 6,488 on Thursday.  

According to the statement issued by FSSAI, the samples tested by labs at Goa and subsequently Mysore were primarily drawn from Nestle's Bicholim factory in Goa, which manufactures the noodles largely for exports to as many as eight countries. "In any case, the test results of Goa samples had no bearing on the order dated 5th June, 2015 as the samples tested qua Goa were not assumed to be unsafe while passing the Recall order by FSSAI. As such, the present test reports do not have any bearing on that order," it said.

On reports of Maggi noodles being found safe in UK and Singapore, the regulator said it had requested Nestle India to share details of the tests but the company "has not shared the details of the said test reports of UK and Singapore Regulators with the FSSAI stating that they do not have this information".

FSSAI said the Food Safety Department of Goa had drawn 5 samples of Maggi noodles on its direction issued in May. These samples were first sent to Goa-based Food and Drugs Laboratory and later to Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI). While the lead content has been found to be within permissible limits of test reports of CFTRI, FSSAI said: "A perusal of the tests results from CFTRI, Mysore shows that the said samples have not been tested for MSG." It further highlighted that, Nestle has not responded to the show cause notice of June 5.

The regulator also added that Nestle had informed earlier that all their Maggi noodles for exports to eight countries were manufactured only at the Goa factory. "Part of the local domestic supplies, including 4 out of 5 samples tested, was also from the product manufactured at the Bicholim (Goa) factory.” In June, FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles only after it found 30 samples "unsafe and hazardous for human consumption.

Last Saturday, Nestle India Managing Director, Suresh Narayanan, however, expressed his desire of bringing Maggi back to the market as quickly as possible and also termed it as his first and primary mandate after joining the new position. He further highlighted that they are looking at opportunities to launch new products in order to overcome the huge loss of Rs 64.4 crore, their first quarterly loss in three decades, on the back of more than Rs 320 crore Maggi being recalled from the market after being termed as ‘unsafe’ by the FSSAI.

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