The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Monday moved the Supreme Court against Bombay High Court’s order lifting the ban on popular instant noodles Maggi and asked for an immediate stay on its sale.
According to the sources in the FSSAI, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is likely to appear for the food regulator as it braces for another round of legal battle against the Swiss giant Nestle, which relaunched its instant noodle on November 9.
The FSSAI, in its petition, has questioned the “sanctity” of the samples provided to the government-approved labs for the re-test, contending the High Court had asked Nestle to provide samples whereas it should have been picked up randomly from the market. As per the sources, seeking Maggi samples from Nestle vitiated the entire procedure of re-testing and that a neutral authority should have ideally lifted the samples.
Further, the petition has claimed that the Bombay High Court allowed substantial changes in its order when Nestle filed a plea for correction of the original order on the ground of there being certain typographical errors.
“This led to a substantial impact on the outcome of the proceeding before the High Court,” FSSAI officials said.
They added that stacking Maggi back on shelves without a fresh permission from the authorities also amount to breach of a pertinent provision in the he Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
In August, the High Court had quashed the orders of FSSAI and Maharashtra food regulator FDA, which had banned nine variants of Maggi noodles in the country. It had said that the principles of natural justice were not followed in executing the ban as the manufacturer was not given a hearing. The court had allowed Nestle to go in for fresh testing of five samples of each variant of the noodles at three independent laboratories in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur which were accredited with National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
It had clarified that these samples would be taken out of the 750 samples preserved by the company following the ban and if lead content was found below permissible limits by the three labs, Nestle India will be allowed to manufacture Maggi noodles. Subsequently, earlier this month, Nestle had informed that tests done on fresh Maggi samples provided to government approved labs were found safe and retail sales would start shortly.