Maggi noodles
Maggi noodlesTwitter/Maggi India

In a major setback to celebrities who endorsed Maggi, the government on Monday said that they are liable for legal action if it is found that instant noodles contain chemicals harmful to health.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is currently testing samples of Maggi and the results are to come out in two to three days. The samples are obtained from different states.

The authorities in Uttar Pradesh have filed a criminal complaint against Maggi manufacturer Nestle India after they found that its instant noodles contained higher than the permissible level of lead and small amounts of unhealthy monosodium glutamate (MSG).

The complaint includes charges against Nestle India and its manufacturing division, the retailer selling contaminated Maggi packs, two Nestle managers and Bollywood stars who acted as ambassadors for the brand.

Bollywood actors Madhuri Dixit Nene, Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta have promoted Maggi in TV advertisements.

The hearing of the case is expected to be held on 1 July, an official at state's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told The Economic Times.

The Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration officials have asked Nestle to recall 200,000 packs of Maggi noodles that contained prohibited chemicals.

While the permissible limit for lead is 0.01 parts per million (ppm), the food regulator found 17 parts per million lead in the samples they collected from Easy Day store in Barabanki. The amount of lead found is considered to be hazardous to health, especially for children.

In defence, Nestle, the world's largest food company by revenue, said that the batch that has been asked to recall was manufactured in February 2014 and crossed the best-before date in November, due to which it is no longer available in the market.

The company also said it is not using contentious MSG in manufacturing of Maggi noodles in India, which is noted on the cover of the product.