SC seeks response from Nestle India, Maharashtra govt on FSSAI’s plea

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New Delhi | Published: December 12, 2015 3:11:10 AM

SC refused to interfere with the R640-crore class-action suit filed by the govt before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which directed further testing of 16 samples of Maggi at a govt-accredited lab

The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from Nestle India and the Maharashtra government on an appeal by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) demanding countrywide ban on the company’s popular Maggi noodles.

While food regulator FSSAI challenged the Bombay High Court’s August 13  order lifting ban on nine variants of the fast food, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for FSSAI, told a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that it is not pressing for the ban on maggi now.

The apex court also refused to interfere with the Rs 640 crore class-action suit filed by the government before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which on Wednesday directed further testing of 16 samples of Maggi at a government-accredited laboratory.

Nestle’s senior counsel Harish Salve said that it file an application in this regard. The bench fixed the matter for further hearing on January 13 when it will consider its prayer for stay of the HC verdict.

Rohtagi drew the bench’s attention towards the difficulties the food regulator was facing after the HC order, which had virtually stayed laboratory testing of food products. Swiss food giant Nestle had relaunched its instant noodles on November 9 after the favourable HC verdict.

“The new food adulteration law mandates the laboratories are accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and recognised by the regulator. However, until the accreditation process is completed the ministry had permitted the laboratories with old accreditation to continue testing. The HC now says that you cannot conduct any tests until the accreditation is complete. As a result all 72 laboratories do not have enough work,” Rohatgi said.

The regulator, in its plea, objected to the observation of the HC that its notice asking the company to stop manufacturing and sale of maggi products was violation of the principle of natural justice when it is evident that the firm itself had stopped manufacturing and sale even before the issuance of the notice.

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