Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Once a Saviour now the Devil

“What’s for dinner?” “The 2 minutes magic”!!

Whether it is fixing a quick dinner after a long day at work or having something light yet filling for breakfast, the instant noodles ‘Maggie’ was always there to the rescue. In India Maggie is synonymous with instant noodles; something that Xerox is to photocopy. For me Maggie is the savior in disguise for all those quick fixes, and is sure for many it is the same scenario. However, the recent rounds of controversy surrounding the presence of high amounts of MSG and lead in this humble savior of sorts has suddenly become the talk of the town.

‘Is it safe to eat?’

 ‘It should be banned.’

Well I do not want to comment on the banning component as our government is into a banning spree of late, yet whether it is safe to eat or not I would like to state my viewpoint. It would not be right to comment on others thoughts; however, I always knew Maggie was not the best of foods to be eaten and certainly not a healthy choice although we try a perfunctory attempt in making it healthy by adding a bowlful of assorted vegetables in it.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)has been asked to carry out a quality check on the product which directs its origin to Nestle, a Swiss based company mainly known for its chocolates. Maggie has been eaten in India since 1982. There has been controversy around the components of the mix that comes in with the pack from time to time. But irrespective of the warnings and the awareness about the components and its related carcinogenic impact on the human body people continued devouring the instant food with ease. The fact that the nutritional content in the product was negligible never bothered anyone until now. In fact the food had become a cross breed of junk food and filling food. It was like an emotional food for us. Every time one eats a hot plate of Maggie with the steam still coming out and the smell perforates into the nostrils, a certain memory of one day, one person, one time flows in stealthily. So if we have so much emotional attachment with a food then why ban it. It is like banning a candy or chocolates since it has less nutritional value; or like banning our favorite Indo-Chinese restaurants and food because they have MSG’s; or banning the street food of all sorts from India which are not prepared in the best of conditions and also pose a health hazard. Will the ban on Maggie will have any other result than we saw after the recent beef ban in some states which now threatens to spread across the country?

Banning a product is no solution to any problem. It will create a similar situation like it did when the documentary made on the life of Nirbhaya by BBC had in the country. We are not a bunch of thumb sucking imbeciles that every time we have to be told what to do; if not adhered to then add a legal string to it. If a gut wrenching picture of an oral cancer does not deter people from smoking, or a pre-movie advertisement of the impact of smoking on your loved ones does not put across the message then even a ban on Maggie won’t help. In fact a ‘Maggie Ban’ will bring out less positive but a more apocalyptic outcome at least in India. I didn't stop eating Maggie after knowing its impact on my body nor will I stop eating it. In fact I know many won't do it because Maggie is more like a soul food available in 2 minutes. So let the person decide for himself/herself what to eat and what not to eat. Let it be 'People's Choice' to continue embracing the Devil in the pretext of being the savior.

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