US curbs: Nestle hints at counterfeit Maggi

NEW DELHI: Caught in a regulatory mess, Nestle India said most of the Maggi products rejected by the US food regulator for import in January were not exported from India, even as it claimed that some of them were not even manufactured by it though they were found carrying labels of Nestle India as manufacturer. 

Hinting at the possibility of counterfeiting, a Nestle spokesperson claimed, "We have checked the US FDA site and also find that some of the rejections are for products that are not manufactured by us in India, but the label states the manufacturer as Nestle India. Clearly, these are not our products and we have not been informed of any such rejection of our consignments." 

The spokesperson added that other products may have been imported into the US by retailers who source the product directly from wholesalers in India. 

TOI reported on Saturday that much before Maggi came under the Indian food safety scanner, the US Food and Drug Administration had blocked import of the instant noodles in January, mainly on concerns of labelling — an issue raised by Indian regulatory authorities as well. Some of the consignments were also rejected because of poor hygiene. 

"It appears that at times importers in the USA buy directly from wholesalers in India who send them Maggi noodles that we supply in the domestic market. These products are intended for sale in India and the labels are therefore designed to comply with Indian regulations, which differ from US requirements. These have not been exported by Nestle India," the company said. 

According to the company, Maggi noodles imported directly from Nestle India by third parties carry packaging and labels that conform to the regulatory requirements of the US FDA. 

US FDA, considered one of the world's strictest food and drug regulatory agencies, recently sent Maggi samples for testing after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ordered countrywide recall and withdrawal of the popular snack. Maggi samples tested by various state regulatory agencies were allegedly found containing added monosodium glutamate (MSG), which the company does not declare on Maggi packs, along with lead beyond the prescribed limit.


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