New Delhi: Food regulator FSSAI today moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order in the Maggi noodles case seeking expunging of certain adverse remarks made against it.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) approached the apex court, terming the High Court's August 13 order as "erroneous" and questioned the sanctity of the samples provided for re-test to government-approved labs.
In its petition, FSSAI has contended that the High Court "erred" by asking Nestle, the Indian arm of the Swiss company itself, to provide the fresh samples instead of asking a neutral authority to do so.
The petition also sought expunging of adverse remarks made against FSSAI officials by the High Court. It also maintained that the Authority should be allowed to use labs under the relevant law without insistence being placed on using only the government-accredited labs which were few and far between, FSSAI sources said.
Earlier, the High Court had quashed the orders of FSSAI and Maharashtra food regulator FDA, which had banned nine variants of Maggi noodles in the country. It had said that the principles of natural justice were not followed in executing the ban as the manufacturer was not given a hearing.
The court had allowed Nestle to go in for fresh testing of five samples of each variant of the noodles in three independent laboratories in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur which were accredited with National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
It had clarified that these samples would be taken out of the 750 samples preserved by the company following the ban and if lead content was found below permissible limits by the three labs, Nestle India will be allowed to manufacture Maggi noodles.
Legal sources in the FSSAI said they have challenged the entire order of the Bombay High Court. A Nestle India spokesperson said that the company has not received any court notice so far.
"It has been brought to our attention, that the Supreme Court website has posted that the Food Safety and Standards Authority has filed a case against Nestlé India Ltd and Others.
"We have not been served a notice about this and are not yet aware of its content. However, we would like to reiterate that Nestlé India is confident of the quality and safety of MAGGI Noodles and so we will defend ourselves vigorously," a Nestlé India spokesperson said.
"At Nestlé India, we reiterate that quality and food safety are non-negotiable and that MAGGI Noodles has always been safe for consumption," the spokesperson said.
On November 9, the Indian arm of Swiss company relaunched Maggi noodles in India, five months after they were banned for allegedly containing lead beyond permissible levels.
In June, the FSSAI had banned Maggi noodle products saying it was "unsafe and hazardous" for consumption after finding lead levels beyond permissible limits. The company had withdrawn the instant noodle brand from the market.