Karnataka and Gujarat have lifted their bans on Nestle India’s ‘Maggi’ noodles, paving the way for the return of the popular snack.
“FDCA (Food and Drug Control Authority) had lifted the ban on Maggi in Gujarat during August after the Bombay high court passed an order to lift the ban across India. We took the decision based on the court order,” Gujarat FDCA commissioner HG Koshia told PTI.
“Lack of clarity in Centre’s stand on MSG and lead has forced us to withdraw the Maggi ban,” Karnataka health minister UT Khader was quoted by a leading daily as saying.
The Gujarat government had banned the sale of Maggi for a month in June this year after the lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) levels in the noodles were found to be above the prescribed limits. Later, the ban was extended till September.
In August, the Bombay high court ruled in favour of Nestle in its battle to overturn the ban, but demanded that the popular snack be tested again for safety before it can go on sale again.
Nestle, the world’s largest packaged food company, hopes to have its Maggi noodles back on Indian shelves soon, after court-mandated test results found them to be safe last week, with levels of lead present well below permissible limits.
The fresh test results are set to bolster the Swiss food giant’s prospects in India, a fast-growing consumer goods market where Nestle has been grappling with its worst public relations crisis following a nationwide ban on its Maggi instant noodles.
The ban was imposed after local regulators reported in May that some packets of the noodles contained unsafe levels of lead. The firm had to order a recall of the product a month later, which cost it about 66 million Swiss francs ($67 million).
Nestle’s India unit said in a statement on Friday it had received test results from all three of the laboratories, mandated by the Bombay high court, and all 90 samples, covering six varieties, were safe to eat.
Nestle India will start making and selling the noodles after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by these three laboratories, it said.