Maggi – Taste Bhi ! Health Bhi ?

If you haven’t been watching the news channels off lately, here is something shocking. The Food and Drug Administration of India (FDAI)  was investigating some samples of Maggi. To everyone’s shock,  test results showed presence of harmful elements such as Lead and MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). To what extent ? 17 times the permissible limits. For ages, Maggi has been a part of our shopping list. This incident has certainly made us doubt its tagline – Taste bhi ! Health bhi ! 

Before we understand in detail the harmful elements that Maggi contains, let us know what Maggi really is. Here are some facts about Maggi:

  • Maggi is an international brand of instant soups, stocks, bouillon cubes, ketchups, sauces, seasonings and instant noodles. Owned by Nestlé since 1947, the original company was founded in Switzerland in 1872 by Julius Maggi.
  • Maggi penetrated into Indian markets in 1980s as an instant noodle – easy to cook and ready to serve. From there on, the sales of Maggi have only increased. India has emerged as the largest consumer of Maggi noodles across all Nestle operations in the world.

Although Nestle has denied all the allegations of adulterating Maggi with any element whatsoever, the FDA has called off batches of Maggi from the market in Uttar Pradesh as a precautionary measure. So, what are these harmful elements that led FDAI to take this extreme step:

1. MSG

  • Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is naturally present in various food items such as mushrooms, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and soy sauce. The artificial form of MSG is derived from Glutamic Acid.
  • Excess consumption of MSG promotes sluggishness in the body. It may also cause headache, nausea, increased thirst and a twitching sensation in the mouth. In some cases one may feel numbness, skin rashes and excessive sweating too.

2. Lead

  • Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities.
  • Children six years old and under are most at risk because this is when the brain is developing. For adults, excess consumption of lead might result in Kidney disorders and high blood pressures.

All said, Maggi has been an integral part of our diet right from Kitchen, college canteens to bachelor pads. For many of us, it is the only thing we’ve ever cooked that tasted yummy ! It has mediated several love stories in college campuses. It has been the first thing in our mind when we had to cook after coming to home on a tiring day.

Those trips to hill stations wouldn’t have been the same without us relishing Maggi in heavy rains. Those late night studies wouldn’t have been the same without us bunking into canteens and sharing Maggi with friends. Isn’t it amazing how a pack of noodles is enough to create memories that last till our own existence. Maggi, you’ve done this for us !

But as they, everything that has crest also has a trough. Maybe, this is Maggi’s trough, for it has enjoyed its crest way longer.


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