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FOOD SAFETY

SC sends Maggi class suit case back to NCDRC; Demands tests on samples
Saturday, 05 January, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Supreme Court of India has sent back the class suit case against Maggi to NCDRC and said that the tests on Maggi samples, conducted by the CFTRI, will form the base for the hearing.

“The apex court, in its order, has backed Nestle’s claim that the test done by CFTRI (the Central Food Technological Research Institute) should be the basis for deciding the lawsuit filed by the ministry of consumer affairs through the NCDRC (National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission),” said Nestle in a statement released here.

Nestlé India had challenged class suit filed at the NCDRC before the Supreme Court in 2015.  

“As per the directions of the Supreme Court, samples were sent to CFTRI and the analysis results showed that samples were compliant for lead and other relevant parameters,” the statement read.

NCDRC has directed Nestle to conduct more tests on Maggi.

The statement said, “As per the lawyers who appeared for Nestle, the Supreme Court has directed that the reports received from CFTRI will be the basis for proceedings before NCDRC. Full details will be known only after receipt of the order by the company.”

However, the bench did direct the advocate representing Nestle why there should be any amount of lead present in the product.

The consumer affairs ministry had, in 2015, filed a complaint against Nestle India Ltd, and sought damages of Rs 640 crore for alleged unfair trade practices, that include false labelling and misleading advertisements.

The apex court had, on December 6, 2015, stayed the proceedings before the commission and directed the CFTRI, Mysuru, to conduct a test and submit its report before the bench.

Meanwhile, when the lawyers arguing for Nestle said that the matter before NCDRC be quashed, the SC said that CFTRI report be evaluated by the NCDRC in the complaint before it, and it will not be appropriate for this court to preempt the jurisdiction of NCDRC.

“All the rights and contentions of the parties will remain open,” the bench said.

The ministry had filed a complaint against the Nestle for causing harm to Indian consumers by allegedly indulging in unfair trade practices and false labelling related to the Maggi noodles it sold in the country.

In the same year, FSSAI (the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), the country’s apex food regulator, banned Maggi noodles after it found an excess level of lead in samples and termed it as unsafe and hazardous for human consumption.

It was for the first time that the government had taken action under Section 12-1-D of the Consumer Protection Act, under which both the Centre and states have powers to file complaints.

Nestle had to withdraw its instant noodles from the market over allegations of high lead content and presence of MSG (monosodium glutamate) in the year 2015.
 
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