The Pied Piper of Maggi and Processed Junks

In my youthful days I read the story of Pied Piper of Hamlin who mesmerised the children of the city by his flute’s siren song. The children followed him and went out of the city for getting lost for ever. The Maggi mantra had a similar appeal for the Indian household and children were similarly mesmerised by this instant 2-minute meal like their own moms who saved their cooking drudgery till yesterday. Now tests on Maggi unearthed the betrayal story with much lead and monosodium glutamate in the packets. For all who grew up in the cocoon of middle class , low and upper, maggi the 2-minute noodles has been an obsession all these years since decades in the Indian household in rural and urban areas. Cheap and handy packets of Maggi noodles are a hot favourite with school and college students and Nestle’s ‘two-minute ‘ advertising campaign stressing ‘stay fit and stay healthy’ slogan made it a household name in India. The noodles are Nestle’s fastest selling food item in India , clocking around 15 billion rupees in sales annually. It introduced a revolution to the Indian household and relieved the housewives and the working women from the long laborious cooking burden.

Life without maggi seems to be unbearable for many mothers who on the weekdays live a hectic life. The fear of excessive lead and monosodium glutamate haunts them and maggi is no longer the favourite time-saver in the food chart. People look nonchalant and in spite of the ban some question the authenticity of the anti-Nestle propaganda if it is organized by other food manufacturing multinational companies. India lacks a strong consumer protection law and a mechanism for food recall. Even in food packets served in the Mail and Express trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi , such unhealthy poisonous ingredients have been found.

All junk foods are processed and the lucrative advertisements which create the appetite for them should not be allowed to allure the children any more.The ban on maggi comes as a shocker like the series of earthquakes for moms and kids who are now going to miss the two –minute meal in both mufussil areas and remote villages. The spurt of doubts and investigation now brings all food products under a strict scanner. The craze for maggi and other mass-produced junk in which all from our school days are dunked in is now facing a severe jolt. Media cries woolf for the simmering vat of unhealthy diets. Increased resistance to processed food packs and generic drinks restricts the dietary preference of the young and the aged ones now. In their choice of cheaper diet habits, Indians court maggi distress in spite of recent noodle crackdown spreading even to other brands in the Indian states from Kashmir to Kanyakumarika.Maggi tremor hits all products marketed by Nestle including baby food like cerelac, condensed milk, chocolates , health drink Milo .What an irony of fate. Maggi seemed exotic till yesterday but the question remains why the other companies selling processed food packs are being spared. In fruit salads and preparation of sweets many harmful colours and chemicals are used. We take coloured icecreams from non-branded companies in the rural and semi urban areas and children from poor families go for these cheap icecreams without knowing how much poison they consume with these iceceams and other junk foods.

It has been seen that noodles create many nervous sickness for the children nay the aged people too, Those who are depressed by nature take more junk food than the normal children. Maggi distress opens our eyes to the harmful effects of processed foods. Let us think more seriousness the issue of taking junk food by children. The cinema ad on these processed foods like chips and kurkure should be stopped immediately till all these items are tested properly like maggi in the national laboratory . Maggi goes, but the spectre remains. Like the tag on the cigarette packets , we may add a tag to maggi and other products of processed food : ‘ Maggi Eating is Injurious to health.’ Maggi is less harmful than cigarette. Still as many children are given maggi, we should probe into the Maggi issue without any more delay. The indigenous food items should be brought in to our food chart in modern packages to change the junk food addiction in the children.


More by :  Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee

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