The ban on Nestlé’s popular Maggi brand of instant noodles seems to have given rise to a complicated situation in India. The process started when the Food safety and Drug Administration(FSDA) Lucknow found that few samples of Maggi instant noodles had lead beyond permissible levels and presence of monosodium glutamate(MSG) even when the packets mentioned ‘No MSG’. On June 5th 2015, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned Maggi and directed Nestle to withdraw all nine variants of Maggi instant noodles from market. This was followed by a ban on Maggi in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Punjab, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir for different time period. It created a situation of anxiety in the entire nation since Maggi noodles were considered to be the most staple snacks among Indians and was consumed by almost everyone especially people belonging to middle class irrespective of their age. This also created unemployment and misery on a vast scale especially for contract workers who worked in factories of Nestle.
However, Nestle India has challenged the ban order before the Bombay High Court, which on June 12 declined to give any interim relief over ban of Maggi noodles. The court has scheduled the next hearing for June 30 and has directed FSSAI and the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to file affidavits within two weeks over concerns raised by Nestle.
As the focus remains concentrated on this tussle between the court and Nestle India, there is also need to emphasize on more than 400 products that are actually rejected as they failed to pass the safety tests conducted by FSSAI. This list consists of products such as –
1) Tata Starbucks whose use of ingredients in certain products served at its Indian outlets was not approved by FSSAI.
2) Products like Nutrilite Cal Mag-D, Nutrilite Iron Folic tablets, Nutrilite Natural B tablets, Nutrilite Posirim Low Fat Drink Mix Chocolate Flavour etc manufactured by Amway India have also been rejected.
3) Kelogg’s Special K- red berries produced by Kelogg’s India;
4) Wellness Multivitamin & Mineral women Tablets, Swedish Beauty Complex, Wellness Swedish Beauty Complex Plus produced by Oriflame India;
5) Revital Capsule, Revital Senior tablets, Revital Women Tablets, Revital Tablet produced by Ranbaxy Laboratories;
6) Battered Pepper and Cheese Bites manufactured by McCain Foods India;
7) Chicken Arabic Style Kofta, Crispy Chicken Burger Patty produced by Venky’s are some popular products that fall under this rejection list.
FSSAI withdrew No-Objection Certificate from four companies who manufactured and sold beverages and energy drinks across India as they contained a combination of ginseng and caffeine which were declared harmful to human body.
8) This was followed by ban on Restless energy drink by FSSAI, which also asked manufacturers of three other energy drinks- Monster, Cloud 9, Tzinga – to withdrew their products from market as they contained harmful ingredients.
In the whole Maggi issue as mentioned above, what is worth mentioning is that as soon as Maggi was declared unsafe in India, Foreign governments like Nepal government decided to impose a ban on import and selling Maggi noodles in their respective countries. However, irony is that there are many products that are banned in different countries across the world but are still imported and sold in India due to its weak regulations. In this matter, banned drugs require a special mention.
A) There are innumerable drugs and medicines like Novalgin, D-Cold, Vicks Action-500, Enteroquinol, Furoxone and Lomofen (anti-diarrheal), Nimulid, Analgin (pain killer), Ciza and Syspride (acidity and constipation), Nimesulide (painkiller) and Buclizine (appetite stimulant) which are commonly sold and used in India but are banned in other countries.
B) The popular Kinder Joy/Kinder Surprise is banned in United States because a toy is embedded in each of these confections deemed to be a choking risk for children. But surprisingly it seems that children in India are immune against such risks.
C) India’s bestselling car Maruti-Suzuki Alto 800 and a few others like the Tata Nano and the Hyundai i10 failed the independent crash test conducted by Global NCAP and were declared that they could lead to life-threatening injuries to the occupant of the cars.
Interestingly, the domestic companies of India have played a significant role in creating this vicious cycle as is evident from the fact that when Centre for Science and Environment examined 12 branded honey products that were sold in India, including those made by companies like Dabur, Himalaya, Patanjali, Baidyanath and Khadi, scientists found that they were contaminated and adulterated. Hence, their exports were hampered because of strict export regulations implemented by other countries as a result of which these companies started dumping these harmful honey products within Indian markets itself.
It is really unfortunate that more than half of the consumer class of Indian population is unaware about these facts. Therefore, this article aims at highlighting important facts so that people as consumers of India are conscious that besides Maggi there are various other brands whose products are subject to prohibition by government institutions. Hence it should be realised that instead of treating Maggi as a focal point of banned products, the consumers should make efforts to increase their knowledge about various other products and their flaws to avoid health issues and create scope of better and prosperous India.