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Maggi Noodles Row: Ban Lifted by High Court (Entire Timeline)

maggiOne of the most famous snacks in India, Maggi noodles, is all set to return in the Indian market, thanks to relief provided by the Bombay High Court, which has scuttled down the objections made by regulatory agency — Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Maggi noodle was banned in May this year for containing traces of lead and mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), a taste enhancer, beyond the permissible levels. Consumption of MSG can cause nausea, headache, chest-pain, and is harmful to pregnant mothers.

Nestle company lawyer Iqbal Chhagla said that, the company is agreed for the test, but asked the high court to conduct the test in the presence of a renowned scientist and sample for test should be taken from the company’s stock while FDA’s counsel Darius Khambata wanted at least one of the samples to be included from the lot collected from the state.

Here is a time-line on how Maggi controversy surrounded the Indian food market:

March 2015: A batch of Maggi noodles manufactured in February was tested routinely by FDA of Barabanki, in UP.  Results showed that high levels of MSG and lead were present in Maggi noodles, in contravention of set FDA regulations. Maggi owner Nestle India was sent a notice.

July 2015: Maggi challenged the test results of FDA and the samples were sent to central food testing lab in Kolkata, where the earlier test results were confirmed widening the violation net.

May 25, 2015: Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that government will review reports about the presence of “higher” level of lead and MSG in Nestle’s Maggi noodles.

May 30, 2015: A case was filed against Nestle India and five others by Food regulator FSDA and a separate case was also filed against Amitabh Bachchan, Preity Zinta and Madhuri Dixit for promoting Maggi Noodles advertisements on TV. Nestle assured Madhuri Dixit about the quality of the product.

June 1, 2015: Nestle maintained it stand and said that the lead in tested Maggi is within the safe limit.

June 2, 2015: Kerala ordered withdrawal of Maggi from stores and ordered bakeries not to sell any noodle. Meanwhile, lab tests in Delhi found that Maggi was unsafe for consumption. A Bihar court ordered registration of an FIR against Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, who featured in ‘Maggi’ noodles ad, and two other Nestle officials. Minister Paswan said, “Centre framing new law to deal with Maggi-like cases. On the same day Gujarat also ordered Maggi for a sample test.

June 3, 2015: Delhi government banned Maggi for 15days. Indian Army and Navy canteens were asked to set aside Maggi stocks. Also Nestle stocks started going down by 9%.Other states followed suit and started imposing ban on Maggi.

June 4, 2015: Maggi issue was referred to consumer panel by the government to take appropriate action, the union minister Paswan said. Maggi was eventually banned in almost all the states.

July 2015: After some heads rolled out of Nestle India, new chief Suresh Narayanan said bringing the instant noodles brand back in shelves is his top priority, declining to comment further. Nestle India challenged the ban by central food safety regulator FSSAI in the Bombay High Court.

July 28: Nestle India reported Rs.64 crore loss in its Q2 earnings, first time ever in its Indian foray.

August 3, 2015: The Bombay High Court strikes down the order of FSSAI (The Food Safety Standards Authority of India) on Nestle India’s appeal and ordered fresh submission of noodles for tests. FSSAI approved laboratory of Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has found that Maggi noodles to be safe and is according to the country’s food safety standards. Amid controversy over excess lead in the noodles, the company recalled more than 20,000 tonnes of Maggi.

August 13, 2015: Bombay High Court strikes down FSSAI ban on Maggi and orders fresh test to be conducted.

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