Indian ban on noodles lifted, more tests ordered

Nestle insists that its Maggi noodles are safe to eat and had appealed against a nationwide ban ordered by India's food safety watchdog.
Nestle insists that its Maggi noodles are safe to eat and had appealed against a nationwide ban ordered by India's food safety watchdog.PHOTO: REUTERS

MUMBAI • An Indian court has overturned a government ban on Nestle's Maggi noodles but ordered further tests before the product can go back on sale.

Nestle had gone to the court to challenge the nationwide ban ordered by India's food safety watchdog in June after tests by some states found lead levels exceeded statutory limits. The Swiss food giant has always maintained the product is safe to eat and has continued to sell it in other countries.

In its judgment yesterday, the High Court in the western city of Mumbai called the ban "arbitrary" and said it violated the "principles of national justice".

"We have examined the evidence in great detail. Since the petitioner Nestle has already agreed not to make and sell Maggi until the food authorities are satisfied, we see no reason to allow any relief to food authorities," Justice Vidyasagar Kanade said.

"We direct that Nestle send five samples from each batch of Maggi for testing to three labs, and only if the lead is found to be lower than permitted will they start manufacturing and sale again."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2015, with the headline 'Indian ban on noodles lifted, more tests ordered'. Print Edition | Subscribe