Samples of all brands of noodles may face lab test, says Khader

Health minister takes exception to CFTRI returning the samples

The State government is now depending on analysis by private laboratories to ascertain whether instant noodles, including Maggi, is safe for consumption, following the Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) returning the samples sent by the government.

The CFTRI is a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial research, New Delhi.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Wednesday, Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader said samples had now been sent to two private laboratories based in Bengaluru and the results were awaited in two days.

“We have decided to get noodles of all companies across the State tested. It is not going to be restricted to Maggi. For us people’s health is crucial and not companies. We will take a decision on our next step of action based on the reports from the laboratories,” Khader said.

The minister said the State government had to follow its own procedure and cannot just imitate other states which have ordered withdrawal of Maggi noodles from shops following tests revealing that the snack contained unsafe levels of lead.

Khader said the CFTRI, shockingly, had returned the samples sent by the State government stating that the laboratory was only authorised to analyse samples sent by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The CFTRI chief Asha Martin, in her letter to the government, suggested that the samples be sent to the State Food Analyst Laboratory.

Khader took exception to the CFTRI returning the samples and said he would speak to the Union Health Minister in this regard.

He said the government would soon work out the modalities of implementing the Food Safety and Standards Act. Replying to questions, Khader said the government can’t direct shopkeepers and retailers to not sell noodles, but can appeal them to stop selling them, keeping in view people's health. “People should not eat noodles, till we get the lab report on noodles’ safety,” he said.

The minister said he had asked his officials to be in touch with the officials of other states.
Earlier, in an interview to a TV news channel, the Health minister was quoted as saying that initial reports had revealed that no harmful levels of lead had been found
in Maggi.

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