Close on the heels of Maggi getting a clean chit by three laboratories, food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said the Maggi episode did not leave “very positive taste in anybody’s mouth” and industry should not be “harassed” in the name of quality.
Emphasising on the quality of packed food products, the minister said the industry should adhere to the quality standards.
“While the industry is given a free hand to blossom and grow there has to be regular checks and transparent systems in place which they have to adhere to. If anybody is not adhering to it, they must be taken to task,” Badal said while speaking at the World Economic Forum summit in New Delhi.
Replying to a question if settling of Maggi issue by the court would boost industry sentiment, Badal said, “Well, this entire episode did not leave a very positive taste in any body’s mouth to put it literally.”
“While people should be assured of the packaged food that they are eating is healthy, good for them, and there is nothing which is going to harm them. At the same time, the industry should not be harassed because (food) processing needs to be encouraged,” she said.
The minister also advocated maintaining a balance between assuring the quality products while at the same time looking that how these standards would impact the industry.
“Whether we look at how it has impacted how the world looks at our country or how it impacts the industry...I am very clear that there can’t be any compromise with the health and safety standards of the food that is consumed by our people. That is of paramount importance, both needs to be balanced out,” Badal said.
Earlier in the day, Nestle announced starting sale of Maggi this month as government-approved labs have found the newly manufactured samples of instant noodles Maggi safe.
The company said all samples of the newly manufactured batches from its three plants - Nanjangud (Karnataka), Moga (Punjab) and Bicholim (Goa) - have been cleared by three NABL-accredited labs, as mandated by the Bombay High Court.
Nestle India said it has conducted over 3,500 tests representing over 200 million packs in both national as well as international accredited laboratories and all reports are clear.
In June, the FSSAI had banned Maggi noodle products saying it was “unsafe and hazardous” for consumption after finding lead levels beyond permissible limits. The company had withdrawn the instant noodle brand from the market.
The consumer affairs ministry had also 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.