India High Court favored Nestle over food regulator noodle ban

By MoneyTimes

Aug 17, 2015 09:34 PM EDT

Nestle finds relief when the Bombay High Court on Thursday lifts the food safety regulator's order of a nationwide ban on the sale Nestle India's famous 2-minute Maggi Noodles.

Nestlé's filed petition was amended by a division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Burgess Colabawalla challenging the ban imposed on the production and sale of Maggi Noodles after being accused of having high levels of lead content.

Food group Nestle recalled Maggi instant noodles from sale in India citing "an environment of confusion for consumers," after a food scare triggered by a domestic regulator's report that some packs contained excess lead.

The High Court mentioned that the "principles of natural justice" and procedures were not followed before Food Safety Standard Association of India (FSSAI) imposed the ban.  The court also questioned the manner in which even a show cause notice was not issued before implementing the ban.

According to the court, the samples were not tested at authorized laboratories accredited to the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) that caused doubts on the results. However, it will take some time before Maggi gets back into business.

The company claimed that the ban was "unauthorized, arbitrary, and unconstitutional for violating the right to equality and trade" and violated the principles of natural justice as it had not been given proper hearing.

Nestle claimed their own tests reported that Maggi noodles were safe to eat and none of the countries where the same product is sold like UK, Australia and Singapore had the problem.

Being concerned about public health and public interest, the court has ordered Nestle to get five samples each of its nine variants of Maggi noodles to be tested at three NABL accredited labs at Mojali, Jaipur and Hyderabad.  Once the lead contents in the samples are found to be within allowable limits that's the time that Nestle could start manufacturing Maggi noodles again.  

Nestle is a nutrition, health and wellness company that manufactures, supplies and produces prepared dishes and cooking aids, milk-based products, pharmaceuticals and ophthalmic goods, baby foods and cereals.  It was founded by Henri Nestle in 1866 and has its headquarter in Vevey, Switzerland.

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