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The Nestlé case study: Banning of Maggi

Nestlé S.A., a multinational company headquartered in Switzerland, was the largest food and beverage company in the world in terms of revenue.
Nestlé India Ltd (Nestlé) was a subsidiary of Nestlé S.A., incorporated in the year 1956.But the common people of India know about Nestlé is that it produces Maggi-the the instant noodles that most of the Indian kids grow up with.

Maggi is a name connected to people’s hearts in India. But On August 13, 2015, the Bombay High Court struck down the nationwide ban imposed on Nestlé Maggi instant noodles by FSSAI.

The Court directed Nestlé to have fresh safety tests conducted on the product before bringing it back to the market. Nestlé was asked to provide samples of each variant of Maggi instant noodles for a fresh test to three labs in Punjab, Hyderabad, and Jaipur. The High Court ruled that if even after the fresh tests, the lead content was found to be in excess of the permissible limit, then Nestlé would not be allowed to manufacture and sell Maggi noodles in India. The results of the fresh tests conducted at the three labs went in favor of Nestlé. As a Consequence, Nestlé India resumed selling Maggi noodles in the month of November 2015.

In the month of January 2015, a food inspector from Barabanki (food inspector ), Uttar Pradesh, sent a packet of Nestlé’s Maggi instant noodles picked up randomly from a retail outlet to the State Food Laboratory in Gorakhpur for testing the contents and analyzing its safety level for consumption. The labeling on the packet claimed that there was “No added MSG” in the product. The results of the test analysis showed that there was MSG in the product.

Therefore, the food inspector alleged that Nestlé was mislabeling its product. The food inspector passed on the information to FSSAI and informed Nestlé of the results of the test through a notice. On receiving the information, Nestlé disputed the results and demanded that a fresh test be conducted at the Referral Laboratory at Kolkata which was a Central Food Laboratory authorized by the Government of India, which re-tested products if there was a dispute about the authenticity of the State Food Laboratory analysis.

FSSAI challenged the lifting of the ban on the noodles in the Supreme Court of India. The Bombay High Court had erred in allowing Nestlé itself to pick the Maggi samples the fresh tests instead of appointing a neutral authority to select the samples. FSSAI was of the opinion that the ban on Maggi should continue until a neutral agency picked samples and had the tests performed again.

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