Clamping down further on Nestle over Maggi issue, government has dragged it to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for “unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements” and may seek financial penalties among other actions.
The development comes amidst the Indian unit of the Swiss multinational withdrawing Maggi from the markets after several states banned the famous ‘2-minute’ instant food brand as tests showed them containing taste enhancer MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) and lead in excess of the permissible limits.
Besides, central food safety regulator FSSAI has ordered recall of all variants of Maggi noodles from the market, terming them “unsafe and hazardous for human consumption”.
“On behalf of the Indian consumers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has now filed a petition in the NCDRC. It is based on the order of FSSAI saying that Nestle indulged in unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements,” a source told PTI.
The source further said: “We have sought Additional Solicitor General’s advice in this matter and he will appear on behalf of the government in NCDRC.”
When asked if the government is also seeking monetary damages, the source said: “If NCDRC finds the firm was on the wrong side, it has the power to impose financial penalty.”
Last week, the government had filed a complaint on its own with the NCDRC, using a provision for the first time from the nearly three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act.
Describing the alleged lapses related to food safety standards in Maggi noodles as a “serious issue”, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had also said the NCDRC will investigate the matter and take appropriate action.
Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Goa are the states that have banned Maggi noodles amid mounting food safety concerns and several laboratory tests reporting excessive lead in it.