Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a clarification on Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and its use in flavour and seasoning in noodles and pastas.
With this development, food companies could now be assured of naturally-occurring MSG in food products and they would not face any harassment and prosecution in this regard. However, they have to declare on the package that it contains MSG for enabling consumers to make an informed choice.
A notification by FSSAI says that prosecution will be initiated when the label states ‘No MSG or No Added MSG’ while the impugned product does contain MSG.
FSSAI advised the state food safety commissioners that proceedings should not start against FBOs unless it was ascertained by the department that MSG was deliberately added during the course of manufacturing of the product without declaration on label.
The FSSAI notification says that MSG under the Regulation 3.1.11 bearing INS No. 621 may be added to the product subject to GMP level and under proper declaration as provided in Regulations 2.4.5 (18) of the packaging and labelling regulations of FSS Act.
The apex food regulator added, glutamate is a naturally-occurring sodium salt of glutamic acid and there is no analytical method to identify whether it is added to the product except by physical verification and inspection of manufacturing units.
The move is being viewed by industry experts as a course correction by FSSAI. It is pertinent to mention here that on the basis of MSG levels, the food giant Nestle was forced to recall its Maggi noodles and shut operations for many months after FSSAI passed an order against the product last June.
The issue snowballed into a major controversy after the consumer affairs department filed a class suit against Nestle citing compensation of around Rs 650 crore while the fear of inspector raj was looming large.