Karnataka mulling lab tests of other noodle brands

Karnataka mulling lab tests of other noodle brands

Karnataka government is planning to lift samples of noodles of all companies from across the state for laboratory tests, even as "Maggi" noodles is already under scrutiny after allegations of lapses in food safety standards came to the fore.

"Now it is only Maggi, but I am thinking of randomly lifting the samples of noodles manufactured by all other companies... for laboratory tests... I am discussing it also. For us, people's health is important, not companies," Health Minister U T Khader told reporters here.

Khader said there were four Maggi manufacturing units in the state.He said collected samples of Maggi had been sent to central government's Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysuru and another private laboratory here but, CFTRI refused to receive the samples saying it was a legal matter.

"Shockingly, CFTRI has refused to receive the samples stating it is a legal case, and hence we will give it to one more private laboratory located in Bengaluru," he said.The Minister said he would write letters to Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan and Health Minister J P Nadda, on CFTRI's refusal to receive the samples for testing.

"... if this sort of response is given by a central agency it is not good for the system," he said.

Replying to a remark that as per law, southern states are supposed to send the samples to a laboratory situated in West Bengal, Khader said, "You have brought this law to my notice. I will discuss it with my food safety officials. If they (central government) ask us to refer the samples to some other agencies, we are ready for it."

Asked whether government would ban Maggi noodles if found guilty of food safety lapses, he said it would take action after going through reports to be submitted in a day or two.

"Any decision regarding ban should have justification, and if the report recommends action with justification - we will take action. We don't look at the company but look at the people, and take action," he said.

Khader said government cannot give directions to shopkeepers and retailers not to sell noodles but can appeal them to stop selling them, keeping in view people's health.

"...also people should not eat, until we get the report on noodles' safety," he said.The Minister said he has asked his officials to be in touch with officials of other states

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