Nestle India told the Bombay high court on Tuesday that their Maggi noodles product — banned in India for containing lead in excess — was tested in laboratories that were substandard, not notified to test for lead, and did not have accreditation from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice BP Colabawalla was hearing the petition filed by Nestle India, after the FSSAI banned all nine variants of Maggi on June 5 this year.
On Tuesday, senior counsel Iqbal Chagla, representing Nestle India, told the court the 15 volumes of Maggi that were tested at accredited laboratories in India showed the product contained permissible levels of lead.
But, FSSAI’s advocate Mehmood Pracha brought up before the court that he was not heard in the previous hearing, when Maggi noodles was allowed to be exported. However, Chagla said FSSAI had never told them not to export. What else could have been done with the leftover product, Chagla asked.
FSSAI had said last month that its tests showed the Tastemaker added to Maggi contained 4.6 parts per million lead — the permissible limit is 2.5 ppm. Following this, the Maharashtra food safety commissioner banned the product across the state and asked the company to recall it.
Pracha said the company needs to be regulated, pointing out how Nestle India has not disclosed how the product was being recalled. Pracha also told the court the company has called the product safe, according to a court order, on their website. “We have nowhere said the product was safe,” the court said, and asked FSSAI to file an affidavit on the issue. The matter will next be heard on July 17.