Karnataka Minister of Health and Family Welfare UT Khader said on Wednesday 7 October, that the state may lift the ban on Maggi because state-based test results failed to find any harmful substances in the samples.
However, the Central Food Laboratory (CFL) in Kolkata had found the samples sent by Karnataka in June unsafe for consumption. Karnataka had sent three samples in June, of which two were found to be contaminated with excessive amounts of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
"Of the three samples, the report of just one sample said the product is safe. Of the other two, one sample was found to be mislabelled. Although it had traces of MSG, the label did not mention it. The same sample also exhibited the presence of aluminium (0.119 ppm) and hence it was termed as unsafe," an official of the State Food Safety Division said, according to a report in The Hindu.
"The third sample showed the presence of both lead (2.6 ppm) and aluminium (0.24 ppm) and has been termed unsafe. But the laboratory authorities have not explained as to why the sample is unsafe (is it because of lead or aluminium?). So we will write to them seeking a clarification," the official said.
A National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-approved lab in Nagarabhavi in South Bengaluru tested the same Maggi samples that were sent to CFL and found the lead presence to be 0.5 ppm, which is less than the permissible limit of 2.5 ppm.
Khader said that since there was a lack of clarity on the matter, the samples would be sent for retest in a NABL-approved laboratory based outside Karnataka, based on whose results the ban on Maggi might be withdrawn.
"We don't know which lab results to believe. How would the same sample differ in the content when tested in two different places?" he added, according to The Times of India.
On the presence of aluminium in the samples, Deputy Director of State Health Department Dr HS Shivakumar said the presence was 'negligible', but the authorities cannot take any chances in the wake of the health concerns that Maggi has raised across the nation, SahilOnline reported.
He said that this is the first time that aluminium has been found in the sample and the "Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the only authority that can give the clearance to lift the ban."
He added that Karnataka had failed to take a stand on the presence of MSG in Maggi samples because the Centre didn't set the permissible limit for it. The state would submit the CFL reports of Maggi samples to FSSAI at the Advisory Committee meeting of the Authority on 13 October.
Khader said that, keeping in mind the instructions of the FSSAI, the state would continue with the on-going ban on the sale of Maggi. But a final decision would only be taken after receiving the report of retests and an explanation from the FSSAI about the permissible limits.