Nes­tle’s Maggi noo­dles re­turn to In­dia af­ter ‘cri­sis’

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

MUM­BAI: Nes­tle’s hugely pop­u­lar Maggi noo­dles re­turned yes­ter­day to shelves in In­dia five months af­ter the gov­ern­ment banned them over lead lev­els, in one of the big­gest crises to hit the Swiss gi­ant. In­dia’s food safety watch­dog banned the noo­dles na­tion­wide in June af­ter test re­sults showed pack­ets ex­ceeded le­gal lim­its of lead, while crit­i­ciz­ing Nes­tle for fail­ing to list fla­vor en­hancer monosodium glu­ta­mate (MSG) on la­bels.

But the Bom­bay High Court, the high­est court in the western city now known as Mum­bai, over­turned the rul­ing two months later, call­ing it “ar­bi­trary” and or­dered fresh tests. Nes­tle said last month those tests had found that Maggi noo­dles were safe to eat. It has restarted pro­duc­tion at three of its five In­dia plants. Nes­tle lost more than 75 mil­lion Swiss francs ($74.7 mil­lion) over the ban, which forced it to de­stroy more than 37,000 tons of the noo­dles, In­dia’s lead­ing brand. “What we have been through has been like a life cri­sis for a hu­man be­ing,” Nes­tle In­dia Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Suresh Narayanan told

“It will need in­vest­ments to nur­ture back the brand into the health that it was,” he said of Maggi, which pre­vi­ously ac­counted for about 30 per­cent of the com­pany’s In­dian sales. Maggi’s re­turn comes as In­di­ans pre­pare to cel­e­brate the Hindu fes­ti­val of Di­wali, a time when food shop­ping is at its peak. Fans of the brand, which had 80 per­cent of In­dia’s in­stant noo­dle mar­ket be­fore the cri­sis, re­acted with de­light on Twit­ter. Sony Das posted: “What bet­ter way to cel­e­brate this Di­wali.. #Wel­comeBack­MAGGI wid Maggi our lost ap­petites are also back.. Luv U Maggi”.

The noo­dles will ini­tially re­turn in 100 ci­ties com­pared with more than 400 pre­vi­ously and in just one fla­vor, Masala. Nes­tle’s Narayanan yes­ter­day ques­tioned the ac­cu­racy of the ini­tial lab­o­ra­tory tests, say­ing In­dia’s regime for heavy me­tal test­ing in food was “un­re­li­able” and called for an over­haul. He left open the ques­tion of whether Nes­tle would take le­gal ac­tion against the food safety reg­u­la­tor, say­ing the com­pany had sim­ply been “fo­cused” on get­ting the prod­uct back on shelves. Nes­tle has al­ways main­tained the prod­uct was safe to eat, and has con­tin­ued to sell it in other coun­tries. Nes­tle In­dia’s stock was up 0.2 per­cent on the Bom­bay Stock Ex­change in af­ter­noon trade yes­ter­day. — AFP

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