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Startup 2015-06-12

Nestle India voices against FSSAI, raises issues of interpretation

Nestle India is recalling around 25,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles, adding up to 200-300 million packets and has asked its 4,000 distributors and sub-stockists to send back all Maggi noodles packets within 15 days, from the day of the FSSAI order on 5 June.

By Deputy Features Editor
Nestle India voices against FSSAI, raises issues of interpretation

Nestle India, which has been facing safety issue for over a month now has moved Bombay High Court by filing a case against the food safety authority of India, FSSAI.

The food major which manufactures Maggi instant noodle has taken the step after FSSAI has banned the production, distribution and sale of the instant noodle in India.

Nestle on Thursday approached the Bombay High Court raising issues of interpretation of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2011, whilst seeking judicial review of the Order dated 6th June, 2015 passed by the Food and Drug Administration in Maharashtra and the Order dated 5th June, 2015 passed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Commenting on the same Nestle India statement clears, “We are continuing the withdrawal of MAGGI Noodles products. This action will not interfere with this process. And we shall proceed further as per the order passed by the FSSAI.”

The issue started boiling in the Indian market when UP FDA in May has found high lead and MSG content in Nestle’s Maggi noodle found around the state, banning the product immediately.

On 5th June, FSSAI had asked Nestle India to "stop further production, processing, import, distribution and sale" of all nine variants of Maggi with immediate effect as they had been found hazardous to health and unsafe for human consumption.

According to the food safety authority, three major violations are, excessive presence of lead beyond the maximum permissible levels of 2.5 parts per million (ppm); misleading labelling information on the package reading 'No Added MSG' (monosodium glutamate); and release of a non-standardized food product in the market, Maggi Oats Masala Noodles with Tastemaker, without risk assessment and grant of product approval.

While, Nestle said the order to test the cake and tastemaker separately was "erroneous and liable to be set aside", and denied any "health risk or misbranding or violation of packaging and labelling regulations'' as alleged by the food safety division.

Nestle also went to the newly formed law firm of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and its partner Ameya Gokhale to fight its case and engaged senior counsel Iqbal Chagla to appear in court. Additional solicitor general Anil Singh, who now holds additional charge as the state's advocate general, will appear on behalf of the government authorities.

Meanwhile, the India issue is also affecting the other global markets as earlier Singapore has tested the lead content in the Maggi noodles, clearing sales of Maggi noodles imported from India after its own tests and now US FDA has ordered to test the instant noodle in the country.

However, Nestle does not import, market or distribute Maggi noodles in the United States. According to an Spokeswoman who told Reuters in an email query “We have been made aware that the FDA has taken samples of Maggi noodles manufactured in India from third-party importers' containers for testing, and we have asked the importers to advise us of the outcome of the FDA tests.”

Nestle India contributes to over 4.5 million retail outlets through its distribution channel, of which it gets to only a million stores directly.

Nestle India is recalling around 25,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles, adding up to 200-300 million packets and has asked its 4,000 distributors and sub-stockists to send back all Maggi noodles packets within 15 days, from the day of the FSSAI order on 5 June, according to the Confederation of All India Traders.

Not only this, Maggi issue has also brought several other brands under soup, as HUL’s Knorr is now next in the row to withdraw their product from the market. HUL has stopped manufacturing of its Chinese noodle under Knorr brand which remains pending with the FSSAI for quality approval.

““We have started the process of withdrawal and will complete the same at the earliest. The consumer can return the unopened & sealed pack to retailer who will return the money,” said HUL Spokesperson in a query.

Hence, we can see that ever since the Magii issue has heat the stove, many noodles, pasta and macroni brands are feeling the waves including HUL’s Knorr, CG Foods’ Wai Wai, ITC’s Yippee amongst others.

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