Meet VK Pandey, the man behind Maggi controversy
New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) officer VK Pandey was the man to expose Maggi's unhealthy practise of adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) more than the permissible limit.
The entire Maggi controversy started with a routine check of samples from a retailer in March 2014 in UP's Barabanki. At that time, high levels of lead and MSG were found in the samples picked by Pandey.
Pandey said that firstly samples were sent to Government Regional Public Analyst Laboratory in Gorakhpur, one of the state's six food testing labs. The reports stated that MSG, a flavour enhancer, was as per the norms listed on the noodle packets.
"The state food laboratory cleared this. But the Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata confirmed the presence of MSG as well as lead in high quantity in it," he said.
Pandey (40), who had earlier taken on food giants like Britannia for wrong labelling on a product, said that the noodle company's packing are done so cleverly that it doesn't show the presence of metals in it.
"The do packing very cleverly... it doesn't show you about presence of metal in it. The metals in Maggi are very harmful to kids and everybody," he said.
Maggi's Nestle is a Swiss company found in 1866. Nestle markets its products in 130 countries. Nestle has always positioned its products with the attributes of health and quality company name.
Maggi was launched in India in 1983 by Nestle India Limited in different variants like masala, tomato and chicken.
The Maggi row intensified after all states and union territories have been asked by the Central government to test the samples of Maggi.