Maggi noodles banned in India

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Maggi noodles banned in India

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara


A two-minute miracle meal, Maggi noodles are popular across Asia (these are from Malaysia). Yun Huang Yong under a Creative Commons Licence

Everyone knows now - there is too much lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG)in Maggi noodles. So everyone in India is talking about them – state governments and all the newspapers.

All the middle class in India love Maggi noodles - kids, parents and grandparents. In adverts, Bollywood film stars tell families to eat Maggi – they say it’s cool, delicious, nutritious and healthy. The mums in the adverts who make Maggi meals are perfect, beautiful modern women in designer kitchens. This makes all women think they should make Maggi meals too. It’s a two-minute magic meal. Kids love it. The mums love it.

Chinese noodles are called mian, mien or mein. Or ‘mee’ in Singapore and Malaysia. I used Maggi years ago, when I didn’t have much time, because my kids loved it. I always added meat and vegetables to make it a bit healthier. You can even see Maggi mee in restaurants, and it’s popular all over Southeast Asia. It is tasty and addictive because of the MSG. But how did people find out it was bad?

No-one knows. But it must have been very bad for the backward state of Uttar Pradesh to say the levels of lead and MSG were too high. All Indians have stopped buying Maggi. And many states have banned it and demanded more tests to check the levels of lead and MSG.

People often say that big international companies do not care so much about quality control in ‘third world’ countries. That’s because of our governments and politicians. We, Asians, Africans and South Americans, should check these things more. Life on third world continents is cheap. And the people in control don’t really care. They only care about the money they make.

Nestlé has owned Maggi since 1947. They will be shocked. I hope it will help. I hope the big food companies will improve quality control and health and safety. If they don’t care about the quality, they care about their money. And this big shock to Nestlé’s name will make other food producers think.

We need to make sure our kids do not eat poison - lead, MSG, chemicals, genetically modified fruit and veg and other food that causes cancer or diseases. We should demand the right to better labels on food so that we know what we are feeding our families.

The Maggi problems have a good side. The whole country is angry that people made them feed their kids dangerous food. It’s time to wake up. I really hope some good comes from this.


(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).