Maggi ban: Alcohol should be banned first as it is injurious to health, says High Court

Nestle India’s senior counsel Iqbal Chagla, who concurred with the court’s view, said that no alcohol in the country has received product approval from the food safety regulator.

Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai | Published: July 23, 2015 2:59 am
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A Bombay High Court bench, which is hearing Nestle India’s plea against ban on Maggi noodles, observed on Wednesday that alcohol should be “banned first” as it is harmful and schoolchildren are nowadays consuming liquor.

“The first thing that you should ban is alcohol. Nowadays, even schoolchildren have started consuming alcohol. It is injurious to health and is a food product. Cigarette is not because it does not fall in the category of food products,” said Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawalla after the counsel of food safety regulator — Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) — defended the ban on Maggi noodles saying it was injurious to health.

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Nestle India’s senior counsel Iqbal Chagla, who concurred with the court’s view, said that no alcohol in the country has received product approval from the food safety regulator.

Defending the ban on behalf of the FSSAI, Advocate General Anil Singh said that mere suspicion about a food product being sub-standard was sufficient ground for the authorities to take action or test samples.

The court, however, said the judiciary would test whether any action taken by the government was arbitrary or justified. “We are here to test whether your action was arbitrary or justified. We can test executive action whether you (state) like it or not,” the bench told the FSSAI counsel. The court also said that it was time to put section 22 of the Food Safety Act to test.

The said section deals with all such food items that are banned unless the food regulator approves it.

Section 22 of the Act states: “Save as otherwise provided under this Act and regulations made thereunder, no person shall manufacture, distribute, sell or import any novel food, genetically modified articles of food, irradiated food, organic foods, foods for special dietary uses, functional foods, neutraceuticals, health supplements, proprietary foods and such other articles of food which the central government may notify in this behalf.”

To Nestle India’s contention that the FSSAI had conducted the initial tests on Maggi noodles in a laboratory which was non-accredited and non-notified by the authority, the advocate general said that although accreditation was necessary, a notification was not required.

He also said that Nestle India was giving an “erroneous impression” by putting a “no MSG (monosodium glutamate)” label on its products. A high content of MSG became the bone of contention over which Maggi noodles was banned on June 5.

While the arguments will continue on Thursday, the FSSAI has been told to present the 42 test reports from across the country where a high percentage of lead was not found.

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  1. K
    Jul 23, 2015 at 11:34 am
    Alcohol is also considered in medicines category. Firstly I beleive tobacco and cigarettes should be banned rather than alcohol. I still remember in we had a chapter on alcohol and alcoholism.
    1. Gauraav Thakar
      Sep 23, 2015 at 11:47 am
      Can people decide for themselves what is good or bad for them?
      1. R
        roopashri sinha
        Jul 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm
        Not that I love Maggi or that I agree with Banning Policy actively followed by BJP... But I would like to know the politics of not banning alcohol although our directive principles have said that prohibition should be incorporated, local women's organisations have demanded it for decades and WHO has recommended that member governments should begin to reduce per capita consumption by reducing the availability of alcoholic beverages.
        1. C
          Jul 24, 2015 at 10:35 am
          o.k you allow maggi to be in markets but write a caution as it is written in ciggs and alcohol "MAGGI IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH ".then people will be o.k with it will let the people to decide whether to buy or not. Still don't understand why Maggi is compared to alcohol just for commercial purpose.
          1. V
            Jul 23, 2015 at 10:14 am
            it seems you don't have be too well educated to be a judge in india. If you think alcohol and led are the same thing.
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