The U.K.’s Food Standards Agency has requested tests on Nestle SA’s Maggi noodles, extending a food safety crisis that has engulfed the world’s biggest food maker.
The FSA is working with the European Commission to investigate reports of high lead levels in Maggi’s noodles sold in India, it said in a statement Friday. A Nestle spokeswoman said the U.K. testing is a “precautionary measure.”
India’s food regulator has ordered a recall of Maggi noodles, deeming them “unsafe and hazardous” after failing a safety test. Nestle Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke said at a press conference in New Delhi Friday that he will do “everything it takes” to get Maggi noodles back in shops. India accounts for less than 1.5 percent of Nestle’s sales, according to Berenberg analyst James Targett.
Nestle shares fell for a sixth straight day in Zurich Friday. The company’s Nestle India Ltd. unit was little changed in Mumbai, leaving the stock down about 11 percent this week.
The FSA said one variety of Maggi’s “2-Minute” noodles, the masala flavor, is imported from India, yet the Maggi noodles tested by Indian authorities were not sold in the U.K. A spokesman for the European Food Safety Authority said it is “not involved” in investigating reports of lead levels in Maggi noodles and doesn’t foresee taking action.
Nestle said Maggi noodles are “completely safe” yet developments in India have led to “confusion.”