The Maggi saga is in all likelihood not to end anytime soon. The country’s apex consumer court, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission(NCDRC), has asked for fresh samples of Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles to be sent to the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore for testing.
A bench of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, headed by Justice VK Jain, which is hearing a class action suit filed against Nestle India, ordered the fresh tests on 13 samples from nine batches of the product available with the government of India. The case will be heard again on November 23.
The government’s counsel had earlier made a request to test samples of Maggi available with it because tests ordered by the Bombay High Court were done on samples that had been available with the company.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had asked Nestle India to withdraw all variants of Maggi noodles from the market in early June after they found to contain a flavour enhancer and excess lead.
The Bombay High Court revoked the ban in August and ordered fresh tests of the product, saying the food regulator had failed to follow procedure while collecting samples of Maggi noodles.
The government, in a complaint filed through the Department of Consumer Affairs against Nestle India in August, is seeking about Rs 640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices and sale of defective goods.
The consumer court turned down the government counsel’s request to allow procurement of additional samples from the FSSAI because it would be in disregard of the Bombay High Court’s order.
It was decided that the noodles and the tastemaker would be tested separately. The consumer court appointed a local commissioner to visit a Nestle warehouse in Lucknow, where 5-8 tonnes of Maggi noodles confiscated by the FSSAI have been stored. The commissioner will prepare an inventory list by batch number and expiry date for further investigation.