2 minute noodles is something I will say, the easiest to cook but what has gone wrong with Maggi that it became news and the biggest retail store of India ‘Big Bazaar’ stopped selling Maggi.
It is something not yet proven but evidence suggests that from 40 years, in Maggi we were eating something that can damage every organ of a human body.
If reports are to be believed, then Maggi has kept the secret for almost 40 years. Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) Lucknow had collected a few samples of Maggi noodles and sent them to Kolkata for testing. The report found traces of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and lead content to be beyond permissible limits. The FSDA officials said the acceptable limit of lead ranges between 0.01 ppm and 2.5 ppm and what they found was 17.2 parts per million (ppm).
I know the above paragraph is a bit technical and we don’t actually get what the problem is. So in a simple language I can say that Maggi contains much more than what is allowed of Lead content.
Question is, what problems does Lead cause?
Human exposure to lead can occur through soil, water and food. Lead deposits in your system over time and doesn’t trigger an immediate problem. It’s not acute and can only be diagnosed with a blood test. Children are more at risk for lead poisoning because their small bodies are in a continuous state of growth and development. Lead is absorbed at a faster rate in children as compared to adults, which causes more physical harm to them than older people.
Lead is gradually deposited in the liver and after a while the liver cells start to die. And what is left instead of normal cells are scarred tissues. Besides liver failure, other symptoms of ingesting too much lead are: inability to digest food, hormonal changes and bloating. It can also be deposited in the nervous and reproductive systems. What makes it worse is that the symptoms are so vague that doctors can’t even diagnose them.
There may be the case that if Lead is not used intentionally it might be a result of contamination. Similar was the case with Coke a few years ago. Coke was accused of having toxins and after investigating the issue they found that the water they were using wasn’t purified enough. So even in this case, the presence of lead in Maggi could be the result of some another contamination.
But FSDA has also found MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) to be above the permissible limit. So what is MSG and what problem it causes?
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) can be found naturally in ingredients like tomatoes, cheese, soybeans, seaweed and dried mushrooms. But these days, instead of extracting glutamate from natural sources, MSG is produced by fermentation of starch, sugar beets and sugar cane.
The naturally produced MSG isn’t something you need to worry about. It’s the synthetic kind which isn’t easy to digest and can harm your health. Especially in the case of kids and pregnant women. Synthetic MSG can cross the placenta and reach the baby causing multiple problems.
Headache, flushing, sweating, chest pain and nausea are all symptoms that are attributed to MSG. However, researchers have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don’t require treatment. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG.
At this point it’s important to mention that the lead quantity found in over a dozen packets in Maggi is 17.2 parts per million (ppm) which in our country is eaten by both adults and little children!
According to an online report published by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), “The term trace metals refers to the metals found in food. While some inorganic elements such as sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus are essential to man; elements like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic are found to cause delirious effects even in low levels of 10-50mg/kg.” They’ve also tabulated the amount of lead that can go into specific kinds of food although it’s unclear which product category instant noodles falls into.
So whatever be the result of further investigations, I am sure people will hesitate to buy Maggi for a while now.