In a bid to clear the confusion over the presence of a taste enhancer – Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – in noodles and pasta, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), on Thursday said MSG, originating from natural sources, could not be questioned under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
This is being seen as a clean chit for products containing MSG as there are no established procedures to ascertain if it was added artificially through laboratory testing, experts said.
Last year, the issue came to the fore when FSSAI banned Maggi instant noodles. It alleged Nestlé misled consumers by declaring that its products did not contain any “added MSG”.
While, noodles and pasta, containing MSG from natural sources cannot be probed by food regulators. Packaged food manufacturers can no longer use “No MSG” or “No added MSG” on their products if it contains the ingredient even from natural sources.
“Commissioners of Food Safety are advised that specific enforcement/ prosecution may not be launched against the manufacturer of noodles/pasta on account of presence of MSG or Glutamic Acid unless it is ascertained by the department that Monosodium Glutamate enhancer (INS E-621) was deliberately added during the course of manufacture without required declaration on the label”, FSSAI notified. It also acknowledged the beleaguered food major’s argument that MSG is found naturally “in several common foods such as milk, spices, wheat, vegetables etc”.
“To prevent, both, avoidable harassment/prosecution of Food Business Operators (FBOs) as well as to ensure that consumers are facilitated to exercise informed choices in respect of what they eat, proceedings may be launched against” manufactures in case of mislabeling, the regulator instructed food commissioners.