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High Court allows Nestle to export Maggi though ban continues in India

Health Officers collect  Maggi samples

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today allowed Nestle India to export Maggi noodles after Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said it had no objection to the company selling the product abroad though it stood by its decision to ban nine variants of the food snack in the country for being hazardous to public health.

“Why blame us…If the company claims that its product is safe and follows the safety standards then let them export it instead of destroying,” FSSAI counsel Mahmood Pracha argued before a bench of Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawala.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Nestle India challenging the impugned order of June 5 passed by FSSAI banning nine variants of the popular instant food snack. It had also questioned a similar order by the Maharashtra government prohibiting the sale of the same products on the ground that they were unsafe and harmful for the health of people.

As the suggestion came from FSSAI that it had no objection to the company exporting Maggi to other countries, the high court gave liberty to Nestle India for selling the products outside India if it wanted to, and subject to compliance of rules and health and food safety standards.

Nestle’s counsel Iqbal Chhagla said by the end of the month, the company would destroy 17,000 crore packets of Maggi. Of these, 11,000 crore packets are being recalled from the market, he said.

The Maharashtra government submitted that Darius Khambata would appear on its behalf and sought a short adjournment, following which the bench posted the matter to July 14.

Advocate Sumedha Rao intervened in the matter, saying that Nestle India should come out with adequate funding to provide protection to consumers. However, the court did not allow her plea, saying that she can file a separate petition instead of intervening in Nestle’s petition.

Meanwhile, FSSAI and other respondents filed affidavits to oppose Nestle’s petition seeking relief from the ban of Maggi products.

The HC had earlier refused to grant relief to Nestle by rejecting its plea for stay of the impugned orders of the food regulator banning nine variants of Maggi noodles.

The court was of the view that Maggi products had already been withdrawn by the company from the shops and hence, there was no need to grant a stay on the ban.

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