Brand of the Day: Nestlé's Maggi Noodles

Today we feature Maggi noodles, a brand of ramen-like noodles that have become entrenched in a heated legal battle in India.

1) The brand

Owned by Nestlé, Maggi boasts a variety of food products including seasonings, soups, sauces and most notably, noodles. The ramen-like noodles are particularly popular in Asia. Until recently, 39 per cent of the brand’s noodle market was in Malaysia, while a whopping 60 per cent was in India.

2) The mistaken ad

Maggi’s first major criticism arose after an ad meant for Indian TV was mistakenly aired on British TV in 2008. It claimed that the noodles helped to “build, stronger muscles, bone and hair.” This violated British Advertising Standards as the brand was required to prove such statements, and could not.

3) The lead

This May, Maggi’s claims of being healthy were officially refuted when the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh’s Food Safety Regulators found that its two-minute noodles contained up to 17 times the permissible amount of lead. In addition, it had an unusually high level of monosodium glutamate (MSG).

4) The ban

Earlier this month, multiple Indian states began banning the sale of the product. Then, on 5 June, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recalled nine flavors of the noodles. The next day, the central Indian government issued an indefinite nationwide sale.

5) The appeal

This ban is set to greatly harm the brand’s profit, so Nestlé India has decided to fight it. Nestlé has released a statement saying that it has approached the High Court of Bombay “raising issues of interpretation of the Food Safety and Standards.” It added that it would not proceed with the issue beyond the decision is made by the high court.

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