ITC in spotlight amid claims over noodles

ITC in spotlight amid claims over noodles

Indian FMCG giant ITC has become the subject of speculation over the lead content of noodles after reports food officials in Uttar Pradesh had found a batch contained excess levels of lead.

The Uttar Pradesh Food and Drug Authority said the noodles had come from a mall in the city of Aligarh.

"The laboratory report for these samples ... indicated that the lead content, which should have been below 1 ppm, was found to be 1.057 ppm," Chandan Pandey, of the FDA's Aligarh division, told The Press Trust of India.

In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange today (25 August), ITC said it had "not received any communication" from government officials in Uttar Pradesh.

"Stories such as this can be misleading and only help create suspicion and mistrust in the minds of the consumer. This will not only damage the brand but also severely impact industry as a whole and future investment for the economy," ITC said.

The company said it "regularly tests our product for all parameters including heavy metals" internally at an accredited laboratory and at laboratories approved by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India.

It added: "It would be pertinent to note that the company has in the recent past carried out tests of a large number of samples of Sunfeast Yippee noodles and pasta both internally and externally at NABL-accredited FSSAI-approved laboratories and have found that all the samples conformed to the food safety regulations."

The claims come in the wake of this summer's recall of Maggi noodles amid claims the products contained levels of lead not permitted under regulations. Brand owner Nestle was accused of also labelling noodles as free from MSG when the products contained the ingredient.

Nestle pulled the noodles from the marketplace in June before the FSSAI introduced a nationwide ban.

Two weeks ago, the Bombay High Court overturned the ban but ordered Nestle to carry out further tests.