Armed with these reports, the Indian arm of the Swiss multi-national food giant plans to resume soon the production of Maggi noodles that were banned last June amid concerns over high lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) content.
In a statement here, Nestle said the test results have been received from all three labs mandated by the Bombay High Court to test samples of noodles manufactured by the company.
“All 90 samples, covering six variants, tested by the three laboratories, are clear, with lead much below the permissible limits,” the Nestle statement added.
The company assured it would continue to collaborate with the Indian food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and other stakeholders on the issue.
“In compliance with the Bombay High Court orders, we will now commence manufacture and will begin selling only after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by the three designated laboratories. We are committed to reintroduce our Maggi noodles at the earliest,” Nestle said.
In the past few months, Nestle conducted around 3,500 tests representing 200 million packs in national and international accredited laboratories and all reports were clear.
Besides, tests in several other countries like the US, Britain, Australia and Singapore also found Maggi noodles manufactured in India safe for human consumption.
In June, the FSSAI ordered a nationwide ban on the company’s noodles on the ground that these were “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption due to presence of lead allegedly beyond permissible limits. The MNC withdrew its instant noodles from the Indian market as a result.
The company moved the Bombay High Court against the FSSAI ban.
A division bench comprising Justices V.M. Kanade and B.P. Colabawalla in August set aside the June 5 order of the FSSAI and also quashed an order of Maharashtra’s Food and Drugs Administration banning production and sale of Maggi noodles in India and the state.
The court, however, ordered a fresh test on Maggi noodles’ samples at three independent labs across India.
Nestle India was directed to send five samples of each variant to accredited labs in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur and asked the labs to give reports within six weeks.
The consumer affairs ministry filed a class action suit against Nestle India, seeking about Rs.640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.
It was for the first time that the ministry dragged a company to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission under the Consumer Protection Act.