Citing a Bombay High Court order which had set aside the countrywide ban on Maggi, Nestle India on Wednesday urged the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to recall its earlier order allowing the government to collect and send samples of its popular Maggi noodles to an “accredited laboratory” for tests on lead content and MSG.
Alleging bias, Nestle told NCDRC that it was being “singled out” by the government in the Maggi ban case as no action was being taken against other manufacturers of similar products and also questioned why its competitor brands weren’t being tested.
Seeking dismissal of the government’s complaint, the company argued that due to the ban, around 9,000 vendors and 10,000 suppliers were rendered unemployed and it has suffered a loss of nearly Rs 250 crore.
“It has caused a huge damage to our reputation… to the extent that my competitors are making fun of me (company). While my product has been banned, government is not taking any action against any manufacturer of similar products… I am being singled out,” senior advocate Arvind Nigam said on behalf of the company.
A bench, headed by justice V K Jain issued notice to the government on the company’s plea. It also issued notice to Nestle on separate pleas filed by the government seeking further testing of Maggi noodles and also impleaded the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which has allegedly failed to appeal against the HC order that dismissed earlier test findings conducted by it. While the food authority is seeking to conduct more tests, its laboratories are not accredited for testing such products, it said.
The HC had lifted the ban on the sale of nine instant noodle brands and ordered fresh tests in three separate labs to ascertain that the products complied with the country’s food safety norms.
The apex consumer court said that it will hear all the applications, including the government’s plea seeking fresh tests conducted on Nestle’s popular Maggi noodles, on October 8, and take up the main class action suit filed against the company on October 30.
While the NCDRC had issued notice to Nestle on August 17, it has failed to file its response and has sought further extension of time on the grounds that it had received incomplete documents from the government.