Nestlé says fresh tests show Maggi noodles are safe
MUMBAI, India – Nestlé said Friday, October 16 that laboratory tests ordered by an Indian court had found its popular Maggi noodles were safe to eat, paving the way for their return following a government ban.
India's food safety watchdog banned the noodles in June, saying lead levels exceeded statutory limits. (READ: Nestlé challenges noodles ban in Indian court)
But the Bombay High Court, the highest judicial body in the western city now known as Mumbai, overturned the ruling two months later and ordered fresh tests.
"All the 90 samples, covering 6 variants, tested by these laboratories are clear with lead much below the permissible limits," the Swiss food giant's Indian unit said in a statement.
Nestlé India, which has continued to sell the product in other countries, added that it hoped to return the brand to Indian stores as soon as possible, saying it had "always maintained that Maggi noodles were safe."
"In compliance with the orders of the Hon'ble Bombay High Court, we will now commence manufacture and will start selling only after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by the designated 3 laboratories," the statement read.
"We are committed to reintroduce our beloved Maggi noodles at the earliest," it added.
Shares in Nestlé India rose almost 8% on the Bombay Stock Exchange following the news.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India imposed a nationwide ban on Maggi noodles after inspectors found excessive levels of lead, as well as traces of flavor enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate). (READ: Nestlé pulls Maggi noodles after India safety scare)
It criticized the company for failing to include MSG in the list of ingredients.
Nestlé has said it does not use MSG in its Maggi products sold in India, but that glutamate is a naturally occurring substance and may be present in some of the ingredients.
In August, the court in Mumbai called the ban "arbitrary" and said it violated the "principles of national justice."
Nestlé's Indian arm has estimated that its run-in with Indian regulators will cost them 3.2 billion rupees ($50 million). (READ: Nestle says India's Maggi ban cost 44.5 million euros)
Nestlé had sold the product for over 3 decades in India, and had 80% of the country's instant noodle market before the ban. – Rappler.com