Nestle tells India's Maggi lovers: Lead levels in our noodles are safe

Nestle India, aiming to quell growing consumer fears over the safety of its Maggie 2-Minute Noodles, said that it had tested samples from more than 1,000 batches of the popular snack and found them to contain acceptable levels of lead.

"Internal and external tests show that lead levels are well within the limits specified by food regulations," Nestle's Indian arm said in a statement late Monday. "You can continue to enjoy your favourite MAGGI noodles as always!" it went on to tell followers on its verified Facebook page.

The company said it tested samples across a batch of 1,000 noodles at its own laboratory, and asked an independent lab to check samples across another batch of 600. Together, it said, the batches represented 125 million packets of noodles.

Maggi has been under the food-safety scanner in recent weeks, with authorities in one state alleging they found seven-times the permissible level of lead in a routine test. India's national food-safety regulator said Monday it was testing samples across the country to check for contamination elsewhere. Nestle, in response, said it would conduct its own tests.

Maggi noodles came to India as an after-school meal in the 1980s and quickly became a staple snack for the country's middle-class consumers. Today, nearly a fifth of Nestle's India annual revenue come from the sale of instant noodles, analysts say. Maggi food stalls are ubiquitous in college campuses across the country and roadside vendors, even in the impoverished countryside, whip up bowls of instant noodles for hungry travelers.

"I felt stabbed after hearing the news. My college days are just going to start and I was abt to lose the best companion," one Facebook user posted on Maggi India's Facebook page.

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