New Delhi/Bengaluru: The state governments of Gujarata and Karnataka rushed to remove the ban on Maggi noodles on Monday, the first working day after three laboratories certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) said on Friday that the product was safe.

The alacrity with which the two states moved to remove the ban—other states may follow soon—mirror the pace at which they enforced it in June after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 5 June asked Nestle India Ltd to immediately withdraw all nine variants of Maggi noodles from the market, calling them “unsafe and hazardous" for human consumption, citing excess lead content and traces of monosodium glutamate.

Nestle India, which has all along claimed its noodles were safe, subsequently went to court and on 13 August, the Bombay high court set aside the ban enforced by FSSAI and asked Nestle to retest samples of Maggi at the NABL-certified laboratories.

To be sure, the moves by Karnataka and Gujarat (and the imminent moves by other states) will not accelerate the re-entry of Maggi noodles, once a favoured snack, into the market.

To comply with the Bombay high court order, the local arm of the Swiss packaged food company has to start manufacturing of Maggi noodles so that the fresh produce can go through a fresh round of testing.

Nestlé India, in a statement on Friday, said the company will start selling the instant noodles “only after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by the designated three laboratories".

Nestlé has Maggi production facilities across five plants in Moga (Punjab), Bicholim (Goa), Nanjangud (Karnataka), Taliwal (Himachal Pradesh) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand). Besides, the company used to produce Maggi noodles with contract manufacturers in West Bengal and New Delhi.

Nestlé India declined to comment on the move by Karnataka and Gujarat to lift the ban on Maggi noodles.

On Friday, the company said: “We are committed to reintroduce our beloved Maggi noodles at the earliest."

It did not give a timeline for Maggi’s comeback.

Last month, Nestlé India’s new managing director, Suresh Narayanan, appointed after the Maggi controversy broke, said the company hopes to bring Maggi noodles back to retail shelves by the end of this year.

On Friday, after it received the test results, Nestlé India said in a statemment: “We have received test results from all three laboratories mandated by the Bombay high court to test Maggi noodles samples. All 90 samples, covering six variants, tested by these laboratories are clear, with lead much below the permissible limits".

Nestle India’s Maggi noodles had earlier cleared tests in various countries, including the US, the UK, Singapore and Australia.

Nestlé India, had, for the first time in 15 years, reported a 64.4 crore loss for the quarter ended 30 June in the aftermath of the ban on Maggi noodles.

During the quarter, it took a one-time charge of 451.6 crore, related to the recall and destruction of Maggi noodles from the Indian market.

Sunita Sachdev, an analyst with UBS Securities India, said: “Maggi is key to Nestlé’s franchisee in India, and would be the backbone for all future growth in the prepared dishes segment… We also look forward to seeing steps from Nestlé , to derisk its India business from this one brand."

Shares of Nestle India closed 1.58% down at 6,476.15 apiece on Monday on BSE. The exchange’s benchmark index Sensex closed up 0.55% at 27,364.92 points.

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