Authorities in a north Indian state have filed a criminal case against Nestle India Ltd after finding dangerous levels of lead in a batch of Maggi noodles, an official said yesterday.
Uttar Pradesh’s Food Safety and Drug Administration said high lead levels were found during routine tests in two dozen packets of instant noodles, along with flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), in March.
The agency earlier this month ordered the company to recall the batch from stores in the state.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Food Safety Commissioner Vijay Bahadur said the case was lodged on Saturday in a magistrate’s court against Nestle India for using misleading packaging and manufacturing potentially harmful products.
“We have filed a case against Nestle India and the store owner for manufacturing and selling the harmful product,” Bahadur said.
He said the company faced a fine and officials a possible jail term if the court found them guilty of breaching India’s Food Safety and Standards Act.
Officials of Nestle India, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle SA, have been asked to appear before the court on July 1, he said.
Nestle India, which sells a vast number of products in India including two-minute noodles, has rejected the agency’s findings and has been conducting its own tests of the batch.
“We will share our results with authorities and continue to collaborate fully with them to bring this matter to a conclusion,” the company said in a statement on Friday. It said it did not use MSG in its Maggi products sold in India.
A lawyer has also lodged a case against three Bollywood actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, who advertise Maggi noodles, claiming they were endorsing a harmful product and misleading the public.
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