Nestle admits to lead content in its Maggi noodles
04 January 2019
Nestle, the Swiss food giant, on Thursday admitted to the presence of toxic lead in its popular noodles brand Maggi, although within “permissible” limits, prompting a retort from the Supreme Court judge who asked why any amount of lead should be present in the first place.
Lawyers of the FMCG company admitted to the presence of lead in the popular noodles brand in the Supreme Court on Thursday, in what is seen as a major setback to Nestle, after a hard fought battle to revive the brand’s fortunes from the lows following the ban in the 2017s.
The SC judge asked the Nestle counsel why should he eat noodles with any lead content when it was argued that the content of highly toxic lead was within “permissible limits”.
Maggi, which had to be recalled for several months after a central food laboratory found traces of lead in the popular noodles, made a comeback after the Bombay high court allowed sale of the product citing the lead content was within permissible limits.
The resumption of court hearing on the suit against Nestle initiated by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for lead content in Maggi is a clear indication that the government has revived the debate on food safety.
The maggi controversy had ignited a popular debate on food safety, especially of the popular FMCG type products that are mostly children’s favourites.
Earlier in 2017, a huge stock of the popular noodles brand had to be destroyed after the product failed health safety norms. The government had also moved a class action suit against Nestle seeking damages of Rs640 crore.
The revival of the case hearing points to the government’s resolve to pursue the case as it affects the health of millions of children and adults across the nation.
Nestlé India said it welcomed the order passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Nestlé India challenged two interim orders of the NCDRC before the Supreme Court in 2015. As per directions of the Supreme Court, samples were sent to Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) and the analysis results showed that samples were compliant for lead and other relevant parameters.
Lawyers who appeared for Nestle in the Supreme court sad reports received from CFTRI, has agreed with Nestlé’s contention and had set aside both the interim orders passed by NCDRC which were challenged by Nestle.
The Supreme Court has also directed that the reports received from CFTRI will be the basis for proceedings before NCDRC. Full details will be known only after receipt of the order by the company.