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Nestle asks consumer court: Why are fresh tests being done on Maggi yet again?

Nestle India on Thursday asked the apex consumer court why fresh food safety tests were being ordered on Maggi noodles when a similar exercise has already been conducted as per the directions of the Bombay high court.

The matter came up before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which heard it for nearly three hours.

The bench of Justice VK Jain and Justice BC Gupta was hearing a class action suit filed against Nestle India.

The case pertains to high levels of lead found in samples of the company’s marquee brand Maggi.

It said the commission would hear the application again on 15 October with regard to fresh tests on Maggi samples.

Nestle, however, took an aggressive stand and said the NCDRC has no jurisdiction to hear the government’s class action suit.

“We are waiting for the results of the samples from three government-recommended laboratories as it was ordered by the high court. As such what is the need of parallel tests,” Nestle senior counsel Iqbal Chagla asked about the suit filed by the consumer affairs ministry for alleged unfair trade practices by Nestle.

He said sampling should not be done to devalue the larger bench.

In what it says amounts to judicial indiscipline, Nestle argued that the Maggi issue was covered under the Food Safety and Standards Act and that in itself was wide in scope for providing for adjudication of disputes.

The company says there is no room available for the Consumer Protection Act to operate in this matter and the grounds of the government’s class action suit have already been covered and dismissed by the Bombay high court.

Apprehensions about the samples being tampered with cannot be ruled out as they were not recommended either by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) officials or the consumer directly, the counsel said.

On the issue of monosodium glutamate (MSG), the attorney said MSG was permitted for seasoning in noodles and since the product was not meant for children below 12 months of age, mentioning “No added MSG” on the packet was not mandatory.

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