The U.K.'s food-safety watchdog said that tests on Nestle SA's instant noodles found the snack safe for consumption.
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The U.K.'s Food Standards Agency said it collected around 900 samples of the Maggi 2-Minute Noodles, including one variant imported from India, and found lead levels to be within permissible limits.
The European Union, of which the U.K. is a member, adheres to some of the world's most stringent food-safety standards.
"Levels of lead in the product are well within EU permissible levels and would not be a concern to consumers," the U.K. agency said on its website.
Nestle said regulators in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, other countries where the Swiss food giant imports noodles from India, also found the snack safe in tests conducted last month. Authorities in those countries couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
In India, the company is challenging a nationwide ban on the noodles in court. Sales of its popular Maggi noodles - which account for more than one of every two packs of instant noodles consumed in the world's most-second populous nation - were blocked last month after India's food-safety watchdog said it found them to be "unsafe and hazardous for human consumption."
Nestle has repeatedly said its lead levels are within regulatory limits but is still recalling and destroying 400 million packets of noodles in India, a process the company says is likely to take months and cost nearly $50 million in sales.
The food-safety scare triggered a raft of tests of everything from instant noodles to ready-to-eat pastas in India. It also pushed regulators in other countries to test Maggi noodles for lead. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is testing the noodles, but has yet to release results.
Meanwhile, an Indian court said Nestle was allowed to export its noodles, but still couldn't sell them in India. Nestle's Indian arm exports noodles to the U.S., U.K. , Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, among other countries.
The company had voluntarily halted exports, even though Indian regulators had not barred them from doing so. ■
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