Nestle's major controversies in India and globally: From adding sugar in baby food to Maggi ban - Hindustan Times
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Nestle's major controversies in India and globally: From adding sugar in baby food to Maggi ban

Apr 18, 2024 12:13 PM IST

Here's a look at Nestle's controversies over the years in India and abroad

Nestle's baby food products in several countries including India contain high levels of added sugar and honey, as per Public Eye, a Swiss investigative organisation. The sugar contents were found in Nestle's brands which are sold in low and middle-income countries- a violation of international guidelines aimed at preventing obesity and chronic diseases. Nestle India responded to reports and told Mint that the company has reduced up to 30 percent of added sugars across its infant cereal range over the past five years.

The Nestle logo is pictured on the company headquarters building in Vevey, Switzerland.(Reuters)
The Nestle logo is pictured on the company headquarters building in Vevey, Switzerland.(Reuters)

Here's a look at Nestle's controversies over the years in India and abroad:

Sugar in baby food

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Following an examination of 115 products sold in Nestlé's main markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, particularly Cerelac and Nodi brands, Public Eye's analysis revealed that all baby cereal products examined in India contained added nearly 3 grams sugar per serving. But similar products in developing nations were sugar free, showing significant differences in how the company marketed in low-income and middle-income countries.

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Unhealthy food portfolio

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In 2021, Nestle's internal presentation indicating that a significant portion of its mainstream food and beverages range is not considered healthy was disclosed which stirred a major controversy. Following this, the company announced plans to update its nutrition and health strategy and review its entire product lineup.

Maggi ban in India

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In 2015, between June 5 and September 1, approximately 38,000 tonnes of Maggi Noodles were withdrawn from retail shelves in India and destroyed after a fault was found during a routine inspection by Sanjay Singh, a food inspector at the Uttar Pradesh government’s Food Safety and Drug Administration. He found packets of Maggi noodles saying that there was "no added MSG (monosodium glutamate)" and sent a sample to the state laboratory for analysis. The results confirmed presence of MSG which resulted in more testing at the Central Food Laboratory in Kolkata in 2014. The results showed presence of MSG and lead, with the latter exceeding Nestle India's claims by over 1,000 times.

Child labour accusations

Nestle faced accusations of child slave labour in 2021 when eight former alleged child slaves sued the company for alleged involvement in the illegal enslavement of children on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast

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