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Maggi lead contamination


Nestlé’s noodles cleared by Indian labs


The Swiss food giant has announced that Indian labs have found its Maggi brand of instant noodles to be safe for consumption. The Bombay high court had ordered an indefinite ban on the sale of the snack following tests showing unacceptable amounts of lead.

“We have received results from all three NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratories mandated by the Hon’ble Bombay High Court to test newly manufactured MAGGI Noodles samples. All the samples of the MAGGI Noodles Masala have been cleared with lead much below permissible limits,” Nestlé India said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had ordered Nestlé to recall its noodles in June, after levels of lead well above allowable limits were discovered. Nestlé contested the allegations, saying that internal and independent laboratory tests of the product had found that the noodles do not pose a health risk.

Return of the noodle

In August, the Bombay high court had revoked the ban order passed by FSSAI on the sale of Maggi noodles. However, the court ordered the testing of existing and newly manufactured batches of Maggi noodles by three NABL-accredited laboratories based in Jaipur, Mohali and Hyderabad before they were allowed to be sold.

On October 16, Nestlé announced that “all the 90 samples, covering 6 variants, tested by these laboratories are clear with lead much below the permissible limits.” Wednesday’s announcement concerns newly manufactured samples and signals that Maggi noodles will soon be hitting Indian shelves after a ban lasting five months. The company hinted that sales could start as soon as this month but it will simultaneously need to work out arrangements with Indian states “where permissions are needed or specific directions may be necessary”.

Maggi noodles account for around 15% to 20% of Nestlé’s turnover in India and the recall has cost the company at least CHF47 million ($47.5 million).

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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