Even as Swiss food giant Nestle resumed the production of its popular instant-noodle brand Maggi in three of its Indian plants, Himachal Pradesh is still weighing its option of lifting the ban on its sale and manufacturing.
Nestle India had written to the state to request it to lift the ban on Maggi production at its Tahliwal plant in Una district. The directorate of health safety and regulation received the request from the company last weekl; and the state government is still considering it. Health minister Kaul Singh Thakur said: “The state is weighing its option. This is technical issue, requiring all aspects to be checked before taking the final call.”
Sources said the state would also consult the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI); study the stand that Karnataka, Goa, and Punjab have taken; and analyse the laboratory reports that cleared the noodle brand of containing harmful substances such as lead. “We will study the Bombay high court order. We should not have any issue with lifting the ban, as even our neighbor, Punjab, has done that,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
Nestle India has resumed manufacturing at Nanjangud in Karnataka, Moga in Punjab, and Bicholim in Goa; but the operations at Tahliwal in Himachal Pradesh and Pantnagar in Uttarakhand are yet to resume. Earlier this month, Maggi cleared the tests that Bombay high court mandated. “The court-selected laboratories picked up 90 samples, covering all variants used in manufacturing, and all laboratories cleared the product,” Nestle has claimed.
In June, the Swiss foods major was asked to withdraw its product from the market after it came under national scrutiny over high content of lead and mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) in its tested samples. The ban weighed heavy on Nestle India’s financial performance, and it reported one-off cost of rs 452 crore in the second quarter on account of stocks withdrawn.
Yearly production 1.26 lakh metric tonnes
Products Maggi noodles, chocolates
Built In 2012
Employees 370 (291 Himachalis)
Turnover Rs 550 crore (2014-15)