Which food articles must not contain MSG, and Added Flavours?


What are Flavouring substances?

Flavouring agents are key food additives with hundreds of varieties like fruit, nut, seafood, spice blends, vegetables and wine which are natural flavouring agents. Besides natural flavours there are chemical flavours that imitate natural flavours. Some examples of chemical flavouring agents are alcohols that have a bitter and medicinal taste, esters are fruity, ketones and pyrazines provide flavours to caramel, phenolics have a smokey flavour and terpenoids have citrus or pine flavour.

Monosodium Glutamate is one of the substances which adds flavour to food, and that has been among the talks a lot in the food industry off late. (Here is why?).

Read Also: Why Lead is Dangerous?

What FSSAI says

Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 have described flavouring agents under the head ‘Flavouring Agents and Related Substances’ in the Regulations.

Flavouring agents include flavour substances, flavour extracts or flavour preparations, which are capable of imparting flavouring properties, namely taste or odour or both to food. Flavouring agents may be of following three types:

  • Natural Flavours and Natural Flavouring substances means flavour preparations and single substance respectively, acceptable for human consumption, obtained exclusively by physical processes from vegetables, for human consumption
  • Nature-Identical Flavouring Substances means substances chemically isolated from aromatic raw materials or obtained synthetically; they are chemically identical to substances present in natural products intended for human consumption, either processed or not.
  • Artificial Flavouring Substances means those substances which have not been identified in natural products intended for human consumption either processed or not.

Watch: How to make your food long last?

List of foods where Monosodium Glutamate is not allowed

  • Milk and Milk Products including Buttermilk, Fermented and renneted milk products (plain) excluding dairy based drink.
  • Pasteurised cream, Sterilised, UHT, whipping or whipped and reduced fat creams.
  • Fats and Oils, Pulses, Oil seeds and grounded/ powdered food grains, Food grains, Sago,
  • Butter and concentrated butter, Margarine, Fat Spread
  • Fresh fruit, Surface treated fruit, Peeled or cut fruit.
  • Fresh vegetables, Frozen vegetables.
  • Pastas and noodles (only dried products).
  • Fresh meat, poultry and game, whole pieces or cuts or comminuted. Fresh fish and fish products, including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms. Processed fish and fish products, including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms.
  • Fresh eggs, Liquid egg products, Frozen egg products.
  • White and semi-white sugar (sucrose and saccharose, fructose, glucose (dextrose), xylose, sugar solutions and syrups, also (partially) inverted sugars, including molasses, treacle and sugar toppings. Other sugars and syrups (e.g. brown sugar and maple syrup),
  • Honey, Saccharine
  • Salt, Herbs, spices and condiments, seasoning (including salt substitutes) except seasoning for Noodles and Pastas, meat tenderizers, onion salt, garlic salt, oriental seasoning mix, topping to sprinkle on rice, fermented soya bean paste, Yeast.
  • Infant food and Infant milk substitute including infant formulae and follow-on formulate, Foods for young children (weaning foods).
  • Natural Minerals water and Packaged Drinking water, Carbonated Water
  • Concentrates (liquid and solid) for fruit juices.
  • Canned or bottled (pasteurised) fruit nectar.
  • Coffee and coffee substitutes, tea, herbal infusions, and other cereal beverages excluding cocoa.
  • Wines, Alcoholic Beverage
  • Fruits and Vegetables products except those where Monosodium Glutamate is permitted under these Regulations.
  • Baking Powder, Arrowroot
  • Plantation Sugar, Jaggery and Bura,
  • Ice-Candies, Ice cream and Frozen desserts.
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Malted Milk Food and Milk based foods
  • Bread
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar Confectionery, Toffee, Lozenges, Chocolate
  • Pan Masala

Restriction on use of flavouring agents the flavouring agents named below are not permitted for use in any article of food

  • Coumarin and dihydrocoumarin;
  • Tonkabean (Dipteryl adorat);
  • β-asarone and cinamyl anthracilate.
  • Estragole
  • Ethyl Methyl Ketone
  • Ethyl-3-Phenylglycidate
  • Eugenyl methyl ether
  • Methyl β napthyl Ketone
  • Propylanisole
  • Saffrole and Isosaffrole
  • Thujone and Isothujone α & β thujone

(source: Food Safety Helpline)

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Baba Ramdev, Patanjali to launch instant noodles


Nestle is trying hard to push Maggi back on the shelves, but it seems to be taking a little longer for that to happen. First set of testing was done already. Now, the second stage of testing will be required when Nestle begins manufacturing of the 2-minute instant noodles. And this is one opportunity that every Nestle competitor does not want to miss.

Moreover, manufacturers that were earlier not even into the noodles business, are now entering the market, with packaging that looks similar to Maggi noodles. Recent additions to this list are Reliance, and Patanjali.

Reliance Select

Reliance, being a business farm, did not lift many eyebrows when it came out with a packaging that is without doubt an attempt to lure Maggi loyalists. What’s surprising is, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali, which usually campaigns against fast food, entering the food business, with their own version of instant noodles. And again, the design of the packaging is similar to the Nestle product. Infact, Patanjali too has come up with its own variation, where it claims NO MSG NO LEAD. This shows how tough the business had been for companies, till the time the original Maggi was on shelves.

ata magi

Baba The Business Man

At the launch of Patanjali Ayurved’s atta noodles on Thursday, Baba Ramdev, yoga guru and co-founder of the company, was not only seen having the noodles himself but urging others to do so. Though a yoga guru having instant noodles might seem at odds, it points to the savvy marketer that Ramdev is.

Apart from plugging into the need for a healthy noodles option in the absence of Maggi, Ramdev has done everything a smart brand ambassador would. This isn’t the only instance when the 49-year-old yoga guru has weaved his magic on promotion and branding. In the 18 years since he co-founded his ayurvedic company along with scholar Balakrishna, he has virtually carried the Patanjali brand on his shoulders. (source: Business Standard)

“The difference between him and regular brand ambassadors is he lives the brand. There is no gap between what he espouses and what Patanjali wishes to communicate. While personality-led brands aren’t uncommon in advertising – the late Steve Jobs personified what Apple stood for and Richard Branson lends his charisma and charm to Virgin – I don’t think there are any examples of it in Ayurveda,” says Kiran Khalap, co-founder, Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy.

As Far As FSSAI Approval is Concerned

Sources say that the noodles cannot be sold until it has got approval from FSSAI since it’s a non-standard product. But obtaining the approval could take more time, as the food safety regulator has done away with process of product approvals. It will reintroduce the procedure through regulations. FSSAI is busy streamlining the product approval process and is expected to come up with new regulations in six months. (source: Indiatimes)

So will Baba be able to bring in his brand of Noodles? Or will Nestle be able to return its one of the most liked product, the original Maggi, before other brands grow into major competitors? That’s for time to tell!

Nestle Cries Foul!


Nestle has been taking a firm hold on its stance that Maggi did not really break the trust of its consumers. Officials at Nestle have constantly taken the stand, that Maggi noodles never contained Lead and MSG, beyond the allowed limits. However, to maintain the trust of its consumers, Nestle gave a tender worth Rs. 20cr to Aditya Birla group to get done away with the Maggi packets that were banned for consumption.

In recent developments, two things have come forth in sight.

1. Labs in Canada, UK, Singapore and US that tested Maggi samples imported from India, gave a thumbs up, claiming Maggi fit for consumption. They found no content that was harmful for human consumption.

2. Nestle unsurfaced an interesting fact. The testing of the samples, that are said to have failed, were done in Laboratories that were not accredited to do so.
As Times of India published in an article :

Nestle India has hit back at Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for its June 5 ban on the popular 2-minute Maggi noodles by stating that the laboratories where noodle samples tested positive for excessive lead content “lacked accreditation, and are thus inconsistent and unreliable”. It also questioned the grounds of “emergency” for a pan-India ban.

Nestle Maggi

Company has filed a case in the Bombay high court, and its plea shall be heard tomorrow, Tuesday, 14th July 2015. If the Nestle bags this case, huge reimbursements are on its way for Nestle, and this shall pose a question, as to why was there such haste in banning the two minute noodle, and why was this case so poorly handled?