NEW: Nestle India withdraws the noodles from Indian stores
No reports of illness linked to eating the product
Nestle has pulled its Maggi instant noodles from store shelves after several states in India banned the iconic snack, citing lead contamination.
The company’s India branch announced the withdrawal in a statement, saying its Maggi noodles “are completely safe and have been trusted in India for over 30 years.” The company cited “unfounded concerns” and “confusion for the consumer” for pulling the product from market.
Over the past days, several Indian states, including Delhi, have banned the popular instant food, saying laboratory tests of samples tested for dangerous high levels of lead.
The bans came about two weeks after initial concerns about Maggi noodles were raised in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier this week, India food minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters that he ordered nationwide testing of the packaged noodles.
Anxieties over the brand’s food safety sent Nestle India’s stock to plunge nearly 17% over a week. Retailers, including India’s leading chain Future Group, also pulled Maggi from its store shelves.
The Maggi brand is a darling among many Indians with its “two-minute noodles” catchphrase. Many look to it as a quick snack that’s a departure from the traditional staple of rice, bread and lentils.
Maggi issued a statement earlier this week saying that the company submitted almost 600 batches to an external laboratory and found the lead levels were well within the limits allowed by food regulations.
“We regularly monitor all our raw material for lead, including testing by accredited laboratories which have consistently shown levels in Maggi Noodles to be within permissible limits,” according to Nestle India.
The company stated that it expects the product to return.
There have been no reports of illness linked with the product.
Maggi is often endorsed by India’s biggest Bollywood stars, prompting discussion on social media over whether celebrities should be accountable for their endorsements.