The Two Minutes Magic is Back!

Bringing respite to harried bachelors, hostel students, lazy ‘chefs’ and housewives looking for a break, Bombay High Court has lifted the countrywide ban over Nestlé’s Maggi noodles. The multinational food giant can relaunch the product after six weeks subject to clearing fresh tests.

The food safety regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) had banned the product in June after finding excessive lead in the product samples, calling it “unsafe and hazardous” for human health. The oats variant of the brand, Maggi Masala Oats was also banned.

Indicting the food safety watchdog, the court ruled that “…natural justice has not been followed in announcing the ban”. The suspension of the ban by Bombay High Court for six weeks is welcomed by both Nestle India as well as the Maggi lovers across the country.

Nestle must conduct tests on five samples of Maggi noodles in three accredited laboratories within the next six weeks to prove that it is manufactured adhering to the country’s food safety norms. If the lab results are in favour of the company, Maggi noodles will be soon be back on the shelves in shops across India.

According to Nestle, over 2,700 samples of the product has already been tested in laboratories in India as well as abroad proving that it is in accordance with India’s food safety regulations.

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How the “Maggi Story” unfolded

The “Maggi Story” began in Uttar Pradesh when a few tested samples were found to contain excess level of lead and MSG (monosodium glutamate). The whole batch was recalled by food inspectors and samples were sent to Kolkata for testing. Though food inspectors later denied that the brand was recalled, alarm was raised and calls to ban the brand started all over the country.

A lot of people who relied on it were shocked over the news that their two-minutes meal was unhealthy and was to be banned.

Some states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir temporarily banned the popular food brand while others ordered for tests to be done. Local shopkeeper and retailer giants like Reliance, Big Bazaar and WalMart withdrew the brand from their outlets. In addition to this, the import of Maggi noodles from India was halted by countries like Singapore and Nepal.

The ban became a topic of controversy as soon as it was implemented by FSSAI on June 5. With Maggi noodles being one of the most recognised food brands in the country, social media erupted with memes, eulogies, satires as well as debates and arguments. While a section of the society supported the ban by putting forth health reasons as well as the necessity to impose stringent regulations for multinational corporations, maggi lovers were disgusted with it.

The suspension of the ban follows the class action suit filed by the government of India against Nestle at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), the apex consumer forum in the country claiming Rs 640 crore in compensation for false labelling, unfair trade and misleading ads. It is for the first time that the consumer affairs ministry is suing a company at the NCDRC under a provision in the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

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