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Cofek wants Maggi noodles recalled after India lead scare

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) wants the Kenya Bureau of Standards to order the recall of Nestle Maggi noodles from supermarkets until a thorough analysis of the product is made.

The demand follows revelation by the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI), that the product exceeded permissible levels of lead and contained monosodium glutamate that is unmentioned in the ingredients’ list, compelling the company to withdraw the sale of Maggi product.

Cofek secretary general Stephen Mutoro said lead is extremely dangerous, even fatal, if ingested in large enough quantities.

“The permissible limit in Indian food is 2.5 parts per million and the examined batch of Maggi noodles is said to have had seven times that much” Mr Mutoro said.

He asked supermarkets and other retail chains to immediately remove the Nestle Maggi noodles from the shelves to save unsuspecting consumers.

“Consumers should desist from buying and or use of Maggi noodles and or any other noodles until competent government agencies undertake independent tests,” he said.

He also asked the Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority and other relevant agencies to stop further entry of the condemned product.

According to the World Health Organisation, lead is a toxic metal that can enter the digestive tract through contaminated food and water.


Consumption of even low levels can result in hypertension, kidney damage and in extreme cases, death.

WHO indicates that children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies absorb nearly five times as much lead as adults do.

But Nestle Kenya said the quality and safety of their products is guaranteed and that all of its products in Kenya have pre-export verification of conformity (PVoC) from the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“We import very limited quantities of Maggi noodles from Nestlé India. They include: Maggi Noodles Masala and Maggi Noodles Vegetable Atta,” Nestle Kenya Corporate Communications manager, Judy Mwangi said.

“Nestlé has the same quality standards everywhere in the world, however, the composition may vary based on product varieties and as per country regulation,” she said.

She said, Nestlé India submitted samples of Maggi Noodles from almost 600 product batches to an external laboratory for independent analysis for lead.

“They also tested samples from almost 1,000 batches at their own accredited laboratory. This would translate to around 125 million packets of product.

“All the results of these internal and external tests show that lead levels are well within the limits specified by food regulations and that Maggi Noodles are safe to eat. Nestlé has shared these results with the authorities and the results are also on the website for consumers” she added.

After the withdrawal of the nine variants the noodle brand in India, Nestle Group Chief Executive Paul Bulcke said Nestle had the same quality standards everywhere in the world which raises concern about the safety of the product in Kenya, despite being produced and packaged locally.

This story first appeared on the Sunday Nation