Nestlé’s Half-Billion-Dollar Noodle Debacle in India

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The Maggi controversy would soon became fodder for hours of lively, breathless punditry. Organic claims influence calorie judgments and exercise recommendations". A systematic review found that organically produced foodstuffs are not richer in vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced foodstuffs. Market share of leading carbonated beverage companies worldwide. One person might point to strained diplomatic relations between India and Switzerland over banking secrecy. Singh skimmed the first page of the report and noted that despite the long time gap, everything appeared to be in order.

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Many varieties are excellent sources for vitamin C or vitamin A. Gerber NatureSelect 1st Foods fruits include apples, bananas, peaches, pears and prunes. NatureSelect 1st Foods vegetables include carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes and squash. Gerber 1st Foods also come in the organic variety. Gerber produces their own organic food and ensures the quality of their fields by performing rigorous soil testing. Organic 1st Foods fruits include applesauce, bananas, pears and prunes.

Vegetables include carrots, peas and sweet potatoes. Baby cereal is usually introduced between the ages of 4 and 6 months. After a couple of weeks or a month, when baby becomes more comfortable eating from a spoon and seems adept at eating the cereal, it is time to start introducing the Stage 1 foods.

There is widespread public belief that organic food is safer, more nutritious, and better tasting than conventional food, [44] which has largely contributed to the development of an organic food culture. Consumers purchase organic foods for different reasons, including concerns about the effects of conventional farming practices on the environment, human health, and animal welfare.

The most important reason for purchasing organic foods seems to be beliefs about the products' health-giving properties and higher nutritional value. In China the increasing demand for organic products of all kinds, and in particular milk, baby food and infant formula, has been "spurred by a series of food scares, the worst being the death of six children who had consumed baby formula laced with melamine " in and the Chinese milk scandal , making the Chinese market for organic milk the largest in the world as of There is no good evidence that organic food tastes better than its non-organic counterparts.

Some foods, such as bananas, are picked when unripe, are cooled to prevent ripening while they are shipped to market, and then are induced to ripen quickly by exposing them to propylene or ethylene , chemicals produced by plants to induce their own ripening; as flavor and texture changes during ripening, this process may affect those qualities of the treated fruit. With respect to chemical differences in the composition of organically grown food compared with conventionally grown food, studies have examined differences in nutrients , antinutrients , and pesticide residues.

Many people believe that organic foods have higher content of nutrients and thus are healthier than conventionally produced foods. A systematic review found that organically produced foodstuffs are not richer in vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced foodstuffs.

Content of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, total soluble solids, copper, iron, nitrates, manganese, and sodium did not differ between the two categories.

A survey of the scientific literature did not find significant differences in the vitamin content of organic and conventional plant or animal products, and found that results varied from study to study.

Few studies examined vitamin content in meats, but these found no difference in beta-carotene in beef, alpha-tocopherol in pork or beef, or vitamin A retinol in beef. The authors analyzed 11 other nutrients reported in studies of produce. A literature review found that organic foods had a higher micronutrient content overall than conventionally produced foods. Similarly, organic chicken contained higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids [ citation needed ] than conventional chicken.

The authors found no difference in the protein or fat content of organic and conventional raw milk. A systematic review and meta-analysis found that organic meat had comparable or slightly lower levels of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat as conventional meat, but higher levels of both overall and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The amount of nitrogen content in certain vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and tubers , has been found to be lower when grown organically as compared to conventionally. The amount of pesticides that remain in or on food is called pesticide residue. In the United States, before a pesticide can be used on a food crop, the U. Environmental Protection Agency must determine whether that pesticide can be used without posing a risk to human health.

This result was statistically heterogeneous, potentially because of the variable level of detection used among these studies. Only three studies reported the prevalence of contamination exceeding maximum allowed limits; all were from the European Union.

The American Cancer Society has stated that no evidence exists that the small amount of pesticide residue found on conventional foods will increase the risk of cancer, although it recommends thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables.

They have also stated that there is no research to show that organic food reduces cancer risk compared to foods grown with conventional farming methods. The Environmental Protection Agency maintains strict guidelines on the regulation of pesticides by setting a tolerance on the amount of pesticide residue allowed to be in or on any particular food. In addition, as the commodities are washed and processed prior to sale, the residues often diminish further. A meta-analysis determined that prevalence of E.

While bacterial contamination is common among both organic and conventional animal products, differences in the prevalence of bacterial contamination between organic and conventional animal products were also statistically insignificant.

Organic meat certification in the United States requires farm animals to be raised according to USDA organic regulations throughout their lives. These regulations require that livestock are fed certified organic food that contains no animal byproducts. Irradiation and genetic engineering are not allowed with organic animal production. There is little scientific evidence of benefit or harm to human health from a diet high in organic food, and conducting any sort of rigorous experiment on the subject is very difficult.

A meta-analysis noted that "there have been no long-term studies of health outcomes of populations consuming predominantly organic versus conventionally produced food controlling for socioeconomic factors; such studies would be expensive to conduct. Antioxidant status and activity are useful biomarkers but do not directly equate to a health outcome. Of the remaining two articles, one recorded proxy-reported measures of atopic manifestations as its primary health outcome, whereas the other article examined the fatty acid composition of breast milk and implied possible health benefits for infants from the consumption of different amounts of conjugated linoleic acids from breast milk.

As of , the scientific consensus is that while "consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food The main difference between organic and conventional food products are the chemicals involved during production and processing.

The residues of those chemicals in food products have dubious effects on human health. All food products on the market including those that contain residues of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and other types of chemicals that are used during production and processing are said to be safe. Claims of improved safety of organic food has largely focused on pesticide residues.

This possibility is practically impossible to study and quantify;" therefore firm conclusions about the relative safety of organic foods have been hampered by the difficulty in proper study design and relatively small number of studies directly comparing organic food to conventional food.

Their work attempts to fill in the gaps in our scientific knowledge of the carcinogenicity of all chemicals, both natural and synthetic, as the scientists conducting the Project described in the journal, Science , in Toxicological examination of synthetic chemicals, without similar examination of chemicals that occur naturally, has resulted in an imbalance in both the data on and the perception of chemical carcinogens.

Three points that we have discussed indicate that comparisons should be made with natural as well as synthetic chemicals. Nevertheless, the public tends to view chemicals as only synthetic and to think of synthetic chemicals as toxic despite the fact that every natural chemical is also toxic at some dose.

Thus, we estimate that However, defenses that animals have evolved are mostly general rather than specific for particular chemicals; moreover, defenses are generally inducible and therefore protect well from low doses of both synthetic and natural chemicals. Therefore, because humans are exposed to so many more natural than synthetic chemicals by weight and by number , humans are exposed to an enormous background of rodent carcinogens, as defined by high-dose tests on rodents.

We have shown that even though only a tiny proportion of natural pesticides in plant foods have been tested, the 29 that are rodent carcinogens among the 57 tested, occur in more than 50 common plant foods. It is probable that almost every fruit and vegetable in the supermarket contains natural pesticides that are rodent carcinogens.

While studies have shown via chemical analysis, as discussed above, that organically grown fruits and vegetables have significantly lower pesticide residue levels, the significance of this finding on actual health risk reduction is debatable as both conventional foods and organic foods generally have pesticide levels well below government established guidelines for what is considered safe.

A study published by the National Research Council in determined that for infants and children, the major source of exposure to pesticides is through diet. In this study it was found that levels of organophosphorus pesticide exposure dropped from negligible levels to undetectable levels when the children switched to an organic diet, the authors presented this reduction as a significant reduction in risk.

More specifically, claims related to pesticide residue of increased risk of infertility or lower sperm counts have not been supported by the evidence in the medical literature. In looking at possible increased risk to safety from organic food consumption, reviews have found that although there may be increased risk from microbiological contamination due to increased manure use as fertilizer from organisms like E.

H7 during organic produce production, there is little evidence of actual incidence of outbreaks which can be positively blamed on organic food production.

H4 outbreak was blamed on organic farming of bean sprouts. Demand for organic foods is primarily driven by concerns for personal health and for the environment. Production and consumption of organic products is rising rapidly in Asia, and both China and India are becoming global producers of organic crops [] and a number of countries, particularly China and Japan, also becoming large consumers of organic food and drink.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about food that complies with the standards of organic farming.

For food advertised as "natural", see natural foods. Further information on the production of organic food: List of countries with organic agriculture regulation.

Food portal Health portal Agriculture portal Sustainable Development portal. University of California, Berkeley. He flipped ahead to see whether MSG had shown up again. And, yes, there it was. This report was far more comprehensive than the first one.

Singh, an organic chemistry Ph. He read it again, stunned. According to the report, the Maggi sample contained more than seven times the permissible level of lead—over 1, times more than the company claimed was in the product. But this was not a trace amount. And significant exposure to lead causes wide-ranging and serious health effects, particularly in children.

Two days later Singh and his colleagues made another morning raid at the Easyday. But there was no stock to seize. The Maggi sample that tested positive for lead was from a batch that was long gone from shelves. As the food officers spoke with the store manager, the earth started to shake violently. They all scrambled for cover as packages tumbled from the shelves. Photograph by The Voorhes for Fortune. The headquarters of Nestlé India is a five-story, glass-walled building that sits along an eight-lane expressway in Gurgaon, a commercial district about 30 minutes outside central Delhi.

Nestlé began doing business in India in The Kolkata lab report arrived in the mail at Nestlé House on May 1, , along with a notice from the food-safety commissioner of Uttar Pradesh, and landed on the desk of technical director Aris Protonotarios, the man in charge of quality and safety at Nestlé India. A soft-spoken Greek, Protonotarios has spent more than a quarter of a century with Nestlé.

Last year it ranked No. Courtesy of Nestle India. People hardly even ate noodles in India when Nestlé introduced Maggi in But the masala spice mix made the taste familiar, and the two-rupee price point made it widely affordable. By , Nestlé was manufacturing Maggi at five of its eight Indian factories. Protonotarios says that lead is among the many safety hazards around which Nestlé designs its quality assurance system: Each factory regularly checks raw materials, its water supply, and packaging for lead.

A check of its records showed no irregularities. So Nestlé India prepared a stack of its internal monitoring documents and mailed a response to the Uttar Pradesh food-safety officials on May 5. The company advised the state regulator that, based on its review, no further action should be taken in the case. In retrospect, it was a stunningly dismissive reaction—and one that would provide a blueprint for more drama to come.

If the media environment in the U. The Maggi controversy would soon became fodder for hours of lively, breathless punditry. The evolution from local issue to national debate was blindingly fast.

On May 7, two days after Nestlé India sent its response to the health officials, the first stories about problems with Maggi noodles began to appear in Hindi language news coverage in Uttar Pradesh. Khajuria received his late-night phone call in New York on May Within a week speculation about a Maggi ban was everywhere.

Partly because, as a general rule, the Nestlé way is to deal with authorities directly rather than through the press. Nestlé India execs also say they were still gathering facts and doing as much testing of their own as possible. While Nestlé stayed mostly quiet, the story metastasized. It was nonstop and not kind; as he flipped channels, he was seized with horror and utter frustration. The Maggi news was on every channel. To outsiders, too, Nestlé appeared paralyzed—or worse, guilty.

The bigger the story got, the more scattered the coverage became. The escalating media attention also put pressure on another entity: In his short tenure he had already tangled with multinationals over labeling and quality issues. However, Nestlé was a reputable global company, and the evidence against it was limited to two samples, one of which had taken an unusually long journey to the lab. He decided that more investigation was needed. Officials across the nation dispatched inspectors to grab Maggi packets.

In a non-profit called War on Want published a page pamphlet called The Baby Killer that excoriated the formula industry for its marketing tactics. The company tried many things to stem the criticism, to little avail. During the past decade Nestlé has embraced a version of corporate civic duty that is in keeping with its reserved culture: The philosophy is that building a sustainable business naturally generates positive social by-products.

Why bother with one-off charitable initiatives when you can simply invest for the long term? Today Nestlé execs talk about their business almost exclusively through the prism of CSV. A lanky, blue-eyed Belgian fluent in six languages, the year-old joined Nestlé in and became CEO in Bulcke knows that a company the size of Nestlé is bound to run into controversy now and again.

That explains his favorite aphorism: Tall trees catch more wind. When he first heard about the Maggi case, says Bulcke, it struck him as a straightforward technical matter involving testing methods that could be judged and handled by his capable people in the field. By the end of May, his communications team was sounding the alarm that the story was exploding. As he listened to a Maggi crisis conference call on June 2, a couple of things became clear to Bulcke: He had badly miscalculated, and it was time for him to jump in.

The regulator had called at Bulcke has a breezy, authoritative demeanor, and he dismissed any such notion. We were right on factual arguments and yet so wrong on arguing. The mood was tense. Malik fired back that Nestlé would have to ask the states for their test results and that their procedures were proper. As he listened, Bulcke realized how far apart the two sides were. Sensing the regulator might do something drastic, Bulcke says he decided what to do almost on the spot: Nestlé needed to launch a voluntary recall and pull every variety of Maggi off the shelves.

His resolve was bolstered that afternoon when states began to ban the noodles. The first ban came from Uttarakhand, a state in northern India, where Nestlé had one of its five Maggi factories. Bans in five other states and territories quickly followed—including Delhi, the one that contains the national capital. Nestlé had lost the regulators and had lost the media. Executing the recall would be a gargantuan task. The product they were recalling was in 3. Plus, it was India, with all its red tape.

Each of the 29 states is like its own country, meaning that trucks have to stop at each border for inspection. Vehicles can enter cities only during certain hours, and to do so they must be a certain size.

The company would need to reverse-engineer this process. And it would have to do something with all those noodles.