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Kerala government bans distribution of Maggi; Delhi says noodle unsafe

PTI 03 Jun 2015, 8:19:02 IST

New Delhi:  Kerala government today ordered pullout of Maggi noodles from its retail outlets while samples of the product in Haryana were lifted for testing even as a Bihar court ordered that an FIR be filed against its brand ambassadors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta.

In more trouble for Nestle India, Kerala Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob's office said an order had been issued to temporarily stop the distribution of Maggi noodles from its retail outlets in the state forthwith till there is clarity on the safety issue.

Kerala State Civil Supplies corporation, also known as Supplyco, has around 1,400 outlets throughout the state.

The probe into alleged lapses of food safety standards has already been expanded to test Maggi noodle samples from across the country following detection of monosodium glutamate and lead in excess of the prescribed limit in the noodles.

However, Nestle India claimed it has got samples tested in an external laboratory as well as in-house and that the product was found "safe to eat".

The Delhi government also came out strongly against Nestle's Maggi, stating that laboratory tests had revealed that the Maggi samples were ‘unsafe' for consumption. It said that 13 samples of Maggi were collected and tested out of which 10 were found to be unsafe.

In Bihar's Muzaffarpur, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Ramchandra Prasad directed Kazi Mohammadpur Police Station to register the FIR against the two Nestle officials and the three stars and investigate the complaint.  

The court also directed the police to effect an arrest if required during the course of investigation.  The order came during the hearing of a case filed by lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha.

The petition had named Managing Director of Nestle Mohan Gupta, its Joint Director Sabab Alam and Bachchan, Dixit and Zinta, who have featured in Maggi ads at different times.

While Bachchan said he no more endorses the brand, Dixit recently met Nestle officials in this regard and said the company has assured her about the quality of the product.

The complainant claimed he purchased Maggi noodles from a shop at Lenin chowk of Muzaffarpur on May 30 and that he was taken ill after he ate it. This prompted him to file a case against Nestle, the maker of the noodles and the film stars.

The case has been filed under IPC sections 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 273 (sale of noxious food or drink), 276 (sale of drug as a different drug or preparation) and 420 (cheating and dishonesty).

"We have taken cognizance of reports of alleged lapses of food safety standards in Maggi noodles. I have ordered my Department to lift samples of these noodles from across the State for laboratory testing," Haryana's Health Minister Anil Vij told PTI in Chandigarh.

Vij said he has asked the State's Director General of Health Services to direct all Chief Medical Officers in the State to depute staff to lift the samples from every district.

"The samples will be lifted randomly from the districts".

Vij said that if lapses in food safety standards are found after the tests, the state government will take strict action.

"In that case, we will ask for withdrawal of all stocks of Maggi noodles from the State," he added.

The West Bengal Food department has convened a meeting tomorrow to take a view on the Maggi row.