Nestle India told the Bombay High Court Friday that a majority of the laboratories that had tested samples of Maggi before the product was banned did not even have the required accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice B P Colabawalla was hearing a petition filed by Nestle India, after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned all nine variants of Maggi noodles on June 5. Stating that 25,000 tonnes of noodles had been destroyed, senior counsel Iqbal Chagla said, “All labs do not have accreditation from NABL, therefore the reason for banning the product is unworthy. In fact, the same batch that were examined by two labs shows different results.” He claimed that the laboratories of Gujarat, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal did not have the required accreditation by NABL. “The Delhi lab report, based on which the ban was imposed, is not even competent to carry out test,” said Chagla.
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He argued that the laboratories competent to carry out tests should satisfy certain criteria, like they should be competent to test for lead, should be accredited to test cereals, etc.
“The goodwill of a product that existed for 30 years has been destroyed. The ban has been passed without any application of mind. We had submitted 2,700 reports to independent laboratories in India and abroad, which found the lead content within permissible limits,” Chagla added.
Moreover, the results conducted by seven states found the lead content to be more than permissible limits, while 20 states found it to be within the permissible limits.