Nestle Maggi 2 minute masala noodles will always be remembered in India as the product which brought about widespread awareness of Food safety in India.
Nestle Maggi enjoyed complete monopoly among instant noodle brands for decades and suddenly it was banned by India’s FDA on the basis of lab test reports, which conflicted with those from other reputed labs, including government labs in Singapore, UK and other places, which found nothing wrong. The India tests apparently revealed higher than permissible levels of lead in the masala and also the presence of MSG, while the label claimed that the product contains no added MSG.
foodnetindia is of the opinion that the brand was the victim of a serious mistake by the authorities, or of a conspiracy. It is unfortunate that the brand had to suffer unwarranted accusations and enormous damage. We do not believe that instant noodles are a healthy meal replacement. However, amongst instant noodles in India, we believe that Nestle Maggi is probably the safest brand with the highest standard of safety and hygiene.
Many people consider Nestle Maggi as a healthy meal replacement, influenced by the aggressive advertisements on TV. The product has very little protein or micronutrient diversity and is not a good meal replacement. When eaten as a complete meal, it should be eaten along with good sources of protein and with abundant non starchy vegetables.
As a meal replacement, it is not suitable for people intolerant of gluten, and is also not suitable for people who need to avoid simple starches due to the risk of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
The foodnetindia safety rating for this product : 5 (On a scale of 1 to 10 from very unsafe to very safe)
While we believe the product to be quite safe, we are forced to reduce its rating due to the unsafe manner in which people consume it. In India, instant noodles are widely used as a meal replacement without added vegetables and protein. This makes it unsafe due to the lack of balance and nutrition, becoming a possible cause for lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and hypertension.
foodnetindia wholesomeness rating : 4 (On a scale of 1 to 10 from very unbalanced nutrition profile to excellent nutrition profile)
Maggi 2 minute Masala noodles could be a grain replacement in a meal and little else. It’s wholesomeness and nutrition would be comparable to any grain and therefore while acceptable as a part of a meal, it does not constitute a wholesome meal by itself.
Ingredients You Should Be Concerned About: Noodles
Ingredients You Should Be Concerned About: Taste Maker
Edible vegetable oil
Maggi does not specify which edible vegetable oil has been used. We believe that it is not responsible behaviour for a brand to avoid clearly stating what ingredients have been used.
Certain vegetable oils contain very large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which could be harmful in excess. Excess polyunsaturated fats may react with oxygen and oxidised Omega-6 fats can damage body functions and perhaps even vital structures like DNA. In addition, consumers need clear information about the type of vegetable oil used, so that they can take action to maintain a healthy balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid consumption.
Maggi 2 minute masala noodles contains 965 mg of salt which is high, as the recommended salt intake is between 1-3 gms per day. High sodium diets have been known to be the cause of high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
This food product does not specify which sugar has been used. This is important because different sugars have different metabolic effects. For example, Sucrose (Cane Sugar) is very different from Fructose (Fruit Sugar). Some foods use high fructose corn syrup which may be harmful in much lower quantities than sucrose. We believe that it is not responsible behaviour for a brand to not clearly state what ingredients have been used.
In July 2007, the European Commission issued a health warning to its member states after high levels of dioxins were detected in guar gum. The source was traced to guar gum from India that was contaminated with pentachlorophenol, a pesticide no longer used in Europe. PCP contains dioxins as contamination. Dioxins damage the human immune system and may be the cause of a wide range of diseases including cancer.
We recommend that consumers who purchase this food product must first confirm whether the manufacturer has tested the guar gum and ensured that it does not have PCP contamination. Most manufacturers do not test for this and do not have the equipment to test for this.
Maggi 2 minute masala noodles contains gluten, a significant proportion of the population is gluten intolerant, either because they suffer from Celiac disease (1% of the population) or gluten sensitivity, which is quite common. Many people who suffer from gluten intolerance may be asymptomatic and may be unaware that they suffer from systemic and chronic inflammation due to their gluten intolerance.
Gluten intolerance has also been linked to autoimmune diseases, cancers, intestinal inflammation, degeneration of the intestinal lining and has even been linked to several mental illnesses (either as a cause or exacerbating factor) the most serious being cerebellar ataxia, a serious disease of the brain that involves an inability to coordinate balance, movements, problems talking, etc. Persons diagnosed with schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s, etc., have been known to respond well to a gluten free diet.
The complex brown colour mixture is made by dry heating and burning of sugars in the presence of alkali, ammonia, sulphite or combinations thereof. Caramel color is one of the oldest and most widely used food colorings, and is found in many commercially produced foods and beverages. Caramel color is widely approved for use in food globally but application and use level restrictions vary by country.
Caramel colour produced with ammonia may be associated with blood toxicity and may result in a reduction of white cells and lymphocyte count. It is not clear whether Maggi uses caramel color produced with ammonia. Comments from the brand would be welcome.
IN 635 (Disodium 5’-ribonucleotides)
It is a mixture of sodium salts of guanylic and inosinic acid and is used as a flavour enhancer. Guanylates and inosinates do not have the specific umami taste but strongly enhance many other flavours, thereby reducing the amounts of salt or other flavour enhancers needed in a product. It is used in many products. Mainly used in low sodium/salt products and not intended for kids below 12 weeks. Asthmatic people should avoid guanylates and inosinates. As guanylates and inosinates are metabolised to purines, they should be avoided by people suffering from gout. However, the concentrations used are generally so low that no effects are to be expected.
Other ingredients that are in the product but not a major source of concern in our opinion are:
- Wheat flour
- Calcium carbonate