The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Thursday told the Bombay high court it has just asked Nestle India to stop production and sale of Maggi noodles, against the popular belief that Maggi was banned.
A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice BP Colabawalla was hearing Nestle India’s petition, filed after FSSAI banned all nine variants of Maggi on June 5.
Anil Singh, the additional solicitor general appearing for FSSAI, said, “This is not a ban. We said stop the production and sale of the product for time being. The company recalled the product.”
On asked whether FSSAI had said it was going to ban the product, Singh said when a batch is tested unsafe, it is presumed the entire product is bad, and the food regulator is obligated to take appropriate action.
Singh said Nestle India was given a show cause notice to explain why their product approval should not be withdrawn in 15 days.
The bench noted that out of 72 samples tested, only 30 samples had lead beyond the permissible level. The rest of the 42 samples tested negative. “If one batch is found bad, you will ban the whole product?,” the bench asked.
The bench also questioned the number of variants tested. When FSSAI replied it had tested three, the court said only those three should have been banned. “If you going to function in this manner, then ban all the noodles,” the bench said.
Singh said the company had a misleading representation on the label, because the product had monosodium glutamate (MSG) in it, and that the government could not allow a dangerous product to be sold in the market.
To this, the court said “It is just a part of labelling.”
Advocate Mehmood Pracha will argue on behalf of FSSAI commissioner on Friday.
‘Nestle admitted to irregularities’
Anil Singh, appearing for FSSAI, said Nestle India had agreed to mislabelling Maggi packets with ‘No added MSG’, when the prodcut contained monosodium glutamate
It also agreed to have released a non-standardised food product, Maggi Oats Masala Noodles with Tastemaker, in the market
After agreeing, Nestle India has chosen to challenge FSSAI, said Singh.