Home / Politics / Policy /  Nestle case should be dismissed: Maharashtra FDA

Mumbai: Nestle India Ltd has suppressed facts in its petition and hence its 10 June petition which dragged food authorities to the Bombay high court should be dismissed, the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the Bombay high court on Wednesday.

Nestle was provided the test reports from the state on 5 June along with a letter that told the company that they can ask for the test to be done again at an accredited laboratory. The company was given the opportunity and was aware of the recourse available to them but has not mentioned these facts in its petition to the court, argued senior counsel Darius Khambata representing the Maharashtra FDA, adding that “a petitioner who does not do that, does not have justice on his side. Therefore, this is not a case."

Moreover, even though the product has a best-before date of nine months from date of manufacturing, the company has burnt all the stock, thus destroying all the samples and the only samples left are the ones with the food authorities.

“If they are so confident, they should come to us and ask us to test it," Khambata told the bench comprising judges V.M. Kanade and B.P. Colabawalla while insisting that the bench should ask them to order the testing.

The testing should be done in a time-bound manner and can be directly done at a referral food laboratory skipping one step in the process of getting tests done from an accredited food laboratory, said Khambata, while arguing that the petitioner should submit himself to the Indian statutes. “Would the company have done the same in another country?" Khambata asked.

In its arguments earlier this month, Nestle India had argued that the procedures for banning a product were not followed. The Indian arm of Swiss Nestle S.A. had questioned the Indian food authorities’ method of testing and had said that it had 2,700 reports of tests it had done in laboratories around the world and in India, which found the product safe.

Nestle is appealing the ban at the Bombay high court. Apex food regulator FSSAI, its chief executive officer and Maharashtra FDA are respondents. The case is adjourned for Thursday.

Meanwhile, in its earnings for the June quarter Nestle India reported a loss of 64.4 crore and net sales decreased by 20.1%, largely due to the impact of the Maggi noodles issue. “This quarter has been extremely challenging for the company. Nestlé India would like to reassure consumers that our products are safe.

Consumer trust is and will always remain the cornerstone of Nestlé. Nestlé India is making all efforts and will continue to engage with authorities to bring Maggi Noodles back on the shelves," the company’s newly appointed managing director (designate) Suresh Narayanan said in a press statement.

The Nestle stock fell 0.62% at .6147.30 on BSE on Wednesday, while the benchmark Sensex rose 0.38% at 27,563.43 points.

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