Nestlé says fresh tests show Maggi noodles are safe

Mumbai, October 16

Nestlé said today that laboratory tests ordered by an Indian court had found its popular Maggi noodles were safe to eat, paving the way for their return following a government ban.

India’s food safety watchdog banned the noodles in June, saying lead levels exceeded statutory limits.

But the Bombay High Court, the highest judicial body in the western city now known as Mumbai, overturned the ruling two months later and ordered fresh tests.

“All the 90 samples, covering six variants, tested by these laboratories are clear with lead much below the permissible limits,” the Swiss food giant’s Indian unit said in a statement.

Nestlé India, which has continued to sell the product in other countries, added that it hoped to return the brand to Indian stores as soon as possible, saying it had ‘always maintained that Maggi noodles were safe’.

“In compliance with the orders of the Bombay High Court, we will now commence manufacture and will start selling only after the newly manufactured products are also cleared by the designated three laboratories,” the statement read.

“We are committed to reintroduce our beloved Maggi noodles at the earliest,” it added.

Shares in Nestlé India rose almost eight per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange following the news.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India imposed a nationwide ban on Maggi noodles after inspectors found excessive levels of lead, as well as traces of flavour enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate).

It criticised the company for failing to include MSG in the list of ingredients.

Nestlé has said it does not use MSG in its Maggi products sold in India, but that glutamate is a naturally occurring substance and may be present in some of the ingredients. In August, the court in Mumbai called the ban ‘arbitrary’ and said it violated the ‘principles of national justice’.