Relief for Nestle India as Bombay HC allows it to export Maggi
Nestle India’s senior counsel Iqbal Chagla informed the division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice BP Colabawala that 40,000 crore packets were to be recalled from across the country. He added 17,000 crore packets have already been destroyed and also assured the court that the process will be completed by the end of July.
Chagla, who was arguing against the ban on the brand by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and later Maharashtra’s food safety commissioner, told the court that he had received affidavits from these authorities, and requested the court for final hearing. The matter was then adjourned for July 14.
To Chagla’s submission that packets of Maggi were being destroyed, government counsel Mehmood Pracha said, “Why blame us… If the company claims that its product is safe and follows the safety standards then let them export it instead of destroying.”
In its affidavit filed in the Bombay high court, FSSAI has submitted that there was no anomaly in its order to recall Maggi from outlets across India as well as to stop its production. The food regulator also said the directives, which were issued to Nestle India, were well within its powers under the food safety and standards act.
FSSAI said that without a risk assessment and the grant of product approval the product could not be allowed to remain in the market.
The state FDA in its affidavit has also strongly defended its action to prohibit the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of Maggi noodles.
On June 5, 2015, FSSAI had imposed ban on all nine variants of Maggi after finding that the Tastemaker added to the product while cooking contained lead to the extent of 4.6 parts per million – in excess of the permissible limit of 2.5 ppm. The order also required Nestle India not just to recall all the nine variants of Maggi but also stop production and distribution of the product in the market.
A day later, Maharashtra’s food safety commissioner issued a formal order imposing a ban on the products across the state and ordered the company to recall all the products from the market.