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Food safety scandal Indian court continues ban on Nestlé noodles

An Indian shopkeeper removes Maggi packaged foods from his shelves  

(Keystone)

The ban on Nestlé’s Maggi brand of instant noodles in India will continue indefinitely, a high court in Mumbai ruled on Friday. Under pressure, Nestlé had removed the product from shelves, but asked for judicial review of the recall of its product.

India’s food safety authority had ordered Nestlé to recall its noodles on June 5, 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.

At a first hearing on Friday, the court directed the Indian food safety authorities to prepare a detailed report on the topic within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile the scandal led officials in other countries to look into the issue. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also took samples of the product for evaluation.

However, a spokeswoman for Nestlé said on Thursday that the noodles produced by Maggi in India are not distributed by Nestlé in the United States; they are imported by independent distributors.

The noodles account for 15% to 20% of Nestlé’s turnover in India, but this is only a minor fraction of the company’s almost CHF92 billion ($99 billion) turnover.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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