The state government Tuesday clarified in the Bombay High Court its stand on the decision to ban Maggi noodles and expressed surprise that Nestle India chose to destroy its products instead of approaching the food authority to get these tested.
Appearing for the state Food and Drug Authority (FDA), senior counsel Darius Khambata argued that Nestle India could have straightaway got its products tested at laboratories in Pune and Mumbai. “What is the point of going to London, New York,” he asked, while pointing out that the company had relied on 2,700 reports from around the world terming Maggi Noodles safe.
Khambata also did not agree with Nestle India’s move to burn the products in bulk. “Why are they burning it? We are even now willing to test,” he said, adding that “mechanism of the (Food Safety and Standards) Act must not be bypassed”. The lawyer said the food analyst had carried out the tests in a “composite way” — testing both the noodle cake and tastemaker together — and come to conclusion that the samples had lead in excess. “Whether separate or together, these are articles of food,” he said, while stressing it was about the consumer’s health. The FDA said the company should not have moved the HC and instead followed procedure according to the FSS Act. He said the food analyst was an expert and its reports should not be looked in an adversarial manner.
On June 5, the FSSAI ordered Nestle India to withdraw all nine variants of Maggi instant noodles from the market terming them “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption. Raising doubts over his jurisdiction, the company had earlier argued that the CEO of FSSAI, while passing the order, had acted in an “emergent, drastic and arbitrary” fashion.