Government drags Nestle India to consumer forum, seeks damages

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Seeking financial penalties among other actions, the Consumer Affairs Ministry will soon file a complaint against the company before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) using a provision for the first time in the nearly three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act.

The government on 11 August asked Nestle India to recall Maggi noodles as its samples were found not only to contain more than permissible limits of lead but also violated the labelling requirements.

The government will seek Rs 426 crore as damages from the Indian unit of Swiss giant Nestle for allegedly indulging in unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements related to Maggi, its banned noodles product.

Samples of Maggi noodles were found to contain more than the permissible limit of 2.5 ppm of lead and violated the labelling requirements about presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG).

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had through its communication dated 25 May this year advised all states and UTs to draw samples of the Maggi Noodles (Nestle) and get the same tested from authorised labs. The advisory was also given on 8 June, said health minister JP Nadda, while replying to a qyery in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister said the implementation and enforcement of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 primarily rests with the state and and UTs.

Surveillance, monitoring, inspection, random sampling and testing of food products are undertaken by the officials of food safety departments of states and UTs to ensure compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Rules and Regulations.

Officials on 10 August had raided a Nestle India godown following a Food Safety and Drug Administration tip-off and recovered nearly 20,000 kg Maggi noodles at Banthara near Lucknow. “(The noodles were found in) 3200 cases/boxes,” said food safety officer (Lucknow) JP Singh.


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