Thursday December 14, 2017

Julius Maggi: The architect of the instant noodle revolution

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A popular favourite and an easy fix for the hunger pangs, Maggi 2-minute noodle was considered a boon by a multitude of people for some years, until the recent controversy broke-out.

The Maggi journey started in 1872 in Switzerland as a brainchild of Julius Maggi, an Italian native . The Swiss entrepreneur, who was a miller, also ventured into other areas of production when the mill business went downhill.

He got in touch with his friend Fridolin Schuler, who was working on the concept of improving nutritional content of the meals of the labour class. Together, they developed the idea of instant food made out of pulses and legumes.

On being asked by the Swiss Public Welfare Society to create a vegetable product that can be instantly cooked and easily digested, Julius Maggi developed the first readymade soup based on legumes.

Later on, he decided to develop a formula to add taste to the meals which paved the way for myriad products which could be instantly made. Among such products, was the instant two minutes noodles.

Instant noodle was first invented by Taiwanese- Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando of Nissin foods in 1958, decades after the death of Julius Maggi.

Nestle acquired Maggi in the year 1947, and launched the popular Maggi – 2 minute noodles in 1982.

Maggi enjoyed over 90% of market share in the sale of instant noodles for the next 25 years. Soon after, many other brands also launched their products modeled on the lines of Maggi.

Though other brands have been increasingly gaining traction, instant noodles are still referred to as Maggi by the consumers, regardless of the brand. That is definitely a symbol of the popularity and acceptance that Maggi noodles has achieved.

The masses considered Maggi as a top brand until the alleged discovery of lead and other substances beyond their permissible levels, was made in some of its samples.

Following the development, the Delhi government has banned Maggi for 15 days, and seven other states have moved on similar lines. Bollywood superstars such as Preity Zinta, Madhuri Dixit and Amitabh Bachchan are also facing heat over the promotion of Maggi.

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Food adulteration in India, the reason you need to be careful with what you eat

There is a good probability that a lot of what you eat is adulterated. Therefore, it becomes essential to cross check the purity of the things you consume

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Food adulteration in India and its consequences
Food adulteration in India has been highly rampant. Pixabay
  • Food adulteration has been highly rampant in India 
  • “Some of the most common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments”
  • The case of food adulteration that took the country by storm was the case of Maggi Noodles, India’s most popular snack

New Delhi, August 1, 2017: The definition of food adulteration according to the Food and Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is, “The addition or subtraction of any substance to or from food so that the natural composition and quality of food substance is affected.”

Food adulteration has been highly rampant in India. India, on a usual basis, witnesses a number of cases of people getting affected by consuming adulterated food products.

According to FSSAI, “Some of the most common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments, pulses, coffee, tea, confectionery, baking powder, vinegar, besan and curry powder.”

The case of food adulteration that took the country by storm was the case of the very loved, Maggi Noodles. Maggi Noodles was found to contain a higher than the permissible level of lead and MSG. The entire nation was shocked to know that India’s most popular snack is not safe for consumption. Nutritionists suggest that consumption of lead for a long period of time can have hazardous consequences on the body.

Also read: To eat or not to eat? Think before you eat food items from these brands.

“The Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for 2014-15 brought out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) says that of the 49,290 samples of food items it tested, 8,469, nearly one-fifth, were found adulterated or misbranded,” suggests a report in The Hindu.

The worst part is, despite the potential of disastrous consequences of adulteration, the government is very lenient in providing punishment for the crime. Even if the culprit is caught, the system isn’t strict enough and one can easily get away.

“The reason behind the increasing trend in food adulteration practices is the poor ethical framework and lack of values. Government laws have their limits, it is the values in people that automatically resist them to do unethical practices,” says Rahul Gupta who works for the Food Corporation of India.

“In regard to milk, the demand and supply gap, and the ease with which it can be handled is what makes it the softest target of adulteration,” he mentioned.

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Sections 272 and 273 of the Indian Penal Code deal with the offense of Adulteration of Food and Drink Intended for Sale entailing a punishment of six months imprisonment or payment of Rs. 1000 fine in case of a person adulterating some food or drink, as an attempt to make the food or drink noxious, intending to sell it, or knowing the likeliness of the same being sold as a food or drink.

There is a good probability that a lot of what you eat is adulterated. Therefore, it becomes essential to cross check the purity of the things you consume. The situation is, indeed grave and one needs to be watchful!

-by Samiksha Goel of Newsgram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Five most controversial bans imposed by Government in 2015

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By Harshmeet Singh

The year 2015 will be remembered for many things. From PM Modi’s frequent foreign visits and the Dadri lynching incident to the astounding victory of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and quashing of the NJAC by the SC, 2015 saw a number of controversial stories.

But few things turned out to be more controversial than the series of bans imposed by the Government on various things, each of which drew contrasting reactions from the society. To refresh your memory, NewsGram brings to you the five most controversial bans imposed by the Government in 2015.

  1. No more Maggi Maggi Maagi! (at least for a while!)

No ban turned out to be as controversial as the ban on the country’s favorite instant noodles, Maggi. It all began when the FSDA (Food Safety and Drug Administration) Lucknow reported that some packets of the Maggi noodles have been found to contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and lead beyond the permissible limits.

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Nestle denied all these allegations while the states across the country started to ban the product one by one, beginning with Delhi on 3 June.

To the relief of Maggi lovers, the countrywide ban was lifted by the Bombay High Court in August.

  1. Maharashtra Government bans beef

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‘Beef’ has probably been one of the most controversial words in the country in 2015. It all started with Maharashtra government’s decision to ban eating, selling or processing of red meat. Though the bill was passed by the state government in 1995 itself, it was given the green signal by the central government and president’s assent only this year.

  1. Porn ban

The Internet users in the country were in for a shock in August when they came to know about the government’s decision to ban porn websites across the country. This decision by the government came after the SC criticized the government for not doing enough to keep a check on child pornography, which is illegal. But after a massive outcry, the government was forced to retract its decision within a few days.

  1. Ban on ‘India’s daughter’

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‘India’s daughter’, a BBC documentary based on the Nirbhaya gang rape case, was banned by the government. The documentary contained an interview of one of the accused, Mukesh Singh, who showed no remorse and instead blamed the girl, forcing the government to take this step. Though BBC didn’t air the documentary in India, it was released internationally.

  1. Ban on NGOs for alleged illegal foreign funding

The central government suspended 4,470 NGOs in the country on allegations of receiving foreign funds in an illegal manner. It started with the Government freezing the accounts of Greenpeace International and trying to stop Priya Pillai, an activist associated with the NGO, from travelling abroad.

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According to the government, the licenses were cancelled for a variety of reasons, including failure to file returns and violation of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).

 

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Nestle announces Maggi’s re-launch, pact with Snapdeal

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New Delhi: Nestle India on Monday said it has begun the roll-out of Maggi noodles in 100 cities, terming the five-month ban as “one of the biggest crises” it has faced in the 32-year history of the brand in the country. It also announced a pact with Snapdeal for online sales.

The return of Maggi Noodles on the auspicious eve of Deepawali and on the day of Dhanteras is a moment of celebration for all of us,” Nestle India chairman and managing director Suresh Narayanan said, announcing the re-launch, after it was taken off the shelves on June 5.

“The crisis we went through is a big one for Nestle India. But we were always confident about the quality and safety of Maggi noodles. It is an important brand for the company,” Narayanan told a round-table with journalists to announce the re-launch.

The first to hit the shelves will be the masala variant, which will be available in single, twin, four and six packs. Other variants will follow later, he said.

“Maggi has special relationships and strong emotional bonds with consumers across the country and I am confident our bonds will grow stronger,” he said. “Separately, Nestle India is pleased to partner with Snapdeal to roll-out online offers to mark this special occasion.”

On June 5, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had ordered a pan-India ban on the company’s noodles on the ground that these were “unsafe and hazardous” for humans due to the presence of lead, allegedly beyond permissible limits.

After a five-month legal battle, Nestle said last Wednesday that the masala version of Maggi noodles will hit the retail shelves as early as this month having cleared all tests ordered by the Bombay High Court at three accredited laboratories.

The re-launched popular snack would be exactly the same as it was pre-crisis, and would have the same product formula, Narayanan said, adding: The packaging, however, will not have the line “no-added MSG (monosodium glutamate)” which, too, had become a contentious issue.

Referring to the crisis after some tests conducted by the food safety authorities allegedly found more-than-permissible levels of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG), the Nestle India chief said the MSG in the packs was in its natural form, without additives or taste enhancers.

Pointing out that Maggi noodles alone contributed 25-30 percent of the India business, Narayanan said the company will take up extensive marketing campaigns for the product.

The company, in June after the ban order, had incinerated Maggi noodles worth Rs.320 crore as fuel for cement factories. As a result of the whole crisis, Narayanan said, the company’s Indian arm suffered around 75 million Swiss francs (nearly Rs.495 crore) worth damages.

Prior to the ban, Maggi noodles were being sold at over 4 million outlets in the country, across nearly 500 cities and towns.

The relaunched noodles are being currently manufactured at three factories located in Nanjangud (Karnataka), Moga (Punjab) and Bicholim (Goa).

For the other two factories of the company in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Nestle India is in talks with the authorities, as the states haven’t lifted the ban, the company said.

Now what remains to be resolved is the Rs.640-crore class action suit filed by the government for allegedly misleading the public and indulging in unfair trade practices.

Responding to a question by IANS on the class action suit, Narayanan said: “It was unfortunate for Nestle to be embroiled in this. We will defend ourselves to the best of our abilities at the consumer court.”

This case is scheduled to come up again before the apex consumer court on November 23.

The company also said it was open to working with the food safety authorities to upgrade the infrastructure of food quality testing laboratories in the country.

(IANS)