NEW DELHI: With state after state banning Maggi over the presence of lead and 'MSG', Nestle today said it is withdrawing the product from Indian market due to "unfounded confusions" that has affected the consumer trust, but maintained that its noodles are safe for consumption.
Nestle global CEO Paul Bulcke flew in from Switzerland to take stock of the situation following Maggi was banned in states such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, among others.
"We felt unfounded reasons resulted in confusion and the trust of consumers was shaken," Bulcke said in a press conference here.
The press conference coincided with the central food safety regulator FSSAI ordering recall of all nine approved variants of Maggi instant noodles from the market, terming them "unsafe and hazardous" for human consumption.
Reiterating that the company's instant noodles are safe, Bulcke said: "We apply the same quality standards and methods in the world here in India too. Our tests have found that Maggi is absolutely safe."
He said the company is cooperating with authorities in India by sharing tests methodologies to find how lead was found beyond permissible limits in tests done by authorities in its efforts to "bring Maggi on the shelves as soon as possible".
The company declined to share details of how many batches and packets it is withdrawing from the market and how much it would affect its sales in India.
"Our main focus is to win the trust of customer," Bulcke said.
Late last evening Nestle India decided to take Maggi off the shelves after a controversy erupted over its contents, prompting several states to ban the 'Two-Minute' noodles.
Asserting that the product was "completely safe", the company had said: "Unfortunately, recent developments and unfounded concerns about the product have led to an environment of confusion for the consumer to such an extent that we have decided to withdraw the product off the shelves."
After Delhi, four more states -- Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand -- banned the sale of Maggi noodles, after concerns were raised over presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead beyond permissible levels in the product.
The Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand governments banned the sale of Nestle's instant noodles for three months while in Gujarat the ban will be effective for one month after some samples of the food failed the lab tests.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the state government banned the sale for one month till the receipt of reports regarding the fitness of the fast food for human consumption.
The four states also ordered the noodle manufacturer Nestle India to immediately withdraw all the stock.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are awaiting results of tests of samples of the noodles taken from the respective states before taking any action. Delhi had yesterday banned sale of the food item for 15 days.
Apart from Maggi, the Gujarat government also tested one sample each of instant noodles of Sunfeast and S K Foods and has banned the latter for a month as high lead content of four PPM was found in it.