Lucknow: A district court in Shahjahanpur has imposed a fine of Rs 62 lakh on consumer goods giant Nestle and its distributors and sellers after a laboratory report confirmed presence of ash content, higher than the permissible limit, in samples of Maggi noodles.
It may be noted that seven samples were collected and sent for testing at a laboratory in Lucknow in 2015 and the report was received in 2016, following which seven cases were lodged at the additional district magistrate’s court.
Of the total fine, the court has levied Rs 45 lakh on Nestle India, Rs 15 lakh on distributors and Rs 2 lakh each on two sellers.
The court order comes after alleged excessive lead content in Maggi created a major controversy in 2015, and the popular noodles brand was banned for five months in the country.
However, in a statement to a news agency, a Nestle India spokesperson said, “We strongly reiterate that Maggi noodles are 100 per cent safe for consumption. While we have not received the orders passed by the adjudication officer, we have been informed that the samples are of 2015 and the issue pertains to ‘ash content’ in noodles.
This appears to be a case of application of incorrect standards, and we will file an appeal urgently once we receive the order.
In 2015, Nestle India and other companies had represented to the relevant authorities, via industry associations, to set standards specific to instant noodles to avoid confusion amongst enforcement officers and consumers.
The standards have since been introduced and the product complies with these standards. We regret the confusion it may cause to consumers”.
ADM J.K. Sharma, while levying the fines, said that “Ash content in Maggi samples exceeded the prescribed limit of 1 per cent.”