Nestlé India says the company will destroy its popular MAGGI Noodles products worth about $50 million it removed from shelves this month after India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority enacted a sales ban on the products for unsafe levels of lead.
Indian Authorities banned the noodles in June after tests from around the country discovered levels of lead in the products higher than legal limits, leading to authorities branding the noodles “unsafe and hazardous.” The tests also detected monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which was not included on the products ingredients list.
In a statement this week the company said it was in the process of collecting stocks of noodles from markets, factories and distribution centers and destroying them.
Nestlé maintains that both of these allegations are a result of confusion and says the products are safe. The company is currently challenging the ban in court.
“Nestlé applies the same quality standards and the same food safety and quality assurance systems everywhere in the world,” the company said. “This also prominently applies to MAGGI Noodles in India.”
In response to the lead concerns, Nestlé said it conducted tests on more than 1000 batches of noodles in its labs and an additional 600 in external laboratories. Their results indicated the noodles were safe and within regulatory limits for the country.
In addition, the company said it does not add MSG to its MAGGI Noodles in India, though some ingredients like groundnut protein, onion power and wheat flour contains glutamate naturally.
“This may have led to the confusion and as such Nestlé has decided to remove the specific mention of ‘No Added MSG’ from the label,” the company said.
According to the Associated Press, the noodles—introduced in the 1980s—are among one of the most popular items for students and young adults.