The first time I realised that Maggi noodles were bad was when my daughter, then 7, had them and had a severe asthma attack. Slowly, I started observing other kids. The Maggi kids had swollen adenoids, bronchial problems and frequent coughs, colds and flus, just as any kid with a junky diet. But this was not all. Kids who ate healthy all week and indulged in a Maggi instant noodle on the weekend faced the same issue despite no other junk. And they were overweight. And then came the shocker.
I was on the board of DPS Sector 45, Gurgaon, as the nutritionist, and the Principal, Mrs Aditi Misra, was committed to kids’ health. So every year when the session for new school kids (no more than cute n pony tailed 4 years olds) began, I was invited to address 400 parents in their large auditorium to discuss the “healthy tiffin themes” the school had begun, and how kids could stay healthy. Some parents continued staying in touch, and often the demand for Maggi came up. One small little girl was diagnosed with unexplained hallucinations. We did an elimination process with her diet over a few weeks, and to cut a long story short, zero-ed in on Maggi. Twice a week Maggi noodles were causing the hallucinations. This is because the brain development of the child was still in process (till age 8), and the chemicals, hydrogenated fat and white flour in Maggi was causing this reaction.
I went on a rampage after that to ban instant noodles, and the DPS canteen actually banned them (my daughter was in 7th grade by then, and asthma free, and she and her friends never forgave me for this). Since then, my stance has been the same: Maggi noodles are poison for growing kids and women with hormonal issues. They interfere with brain development, and make women who can’t lose weight gain more.
I’m glad that the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments are now waking up. Nestle has fooled enough parents in the name of “mother’s love.” It’s time the mothers protested. And just like artists and actors like Amitabh Bachchan have taken a stance not to endorse tobacco products, Maggi noodles come in the same category: just like with cigarettes, nobody ever benefitted by eating Maggi, it only harms the body with toxins and empty calories.
And as for Madhuri Dixit, I was a little shocked to see her in the ad when it was launched. She is a mother, and some things should be beyond commercial gain and just be principles you live by as a person. If you won’t eat them, you won’t endorse them. Isn’t that simple?
Or is responsible money making too much to ask for?
— Rachna Chhachhi, Nutritional Therapist, WHO certified in Malnutrition for children