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Poisoned Noodles: India Seeks Damages Against Food Giant Nestle

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Authorities in India on Monday, June 8, 2015  sought damages against global food group, Nestlé after claims of excessive lead in the company’s Maggi Noodles led to a nationwide recall of the product.

According to Reuters, the semi-judicial National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which can levy fines against companies, will preside over the case against Nestlé.

India’s consumer affairs ministry is to seek an undisclosed amount as compensation from the Swiss giant for false advertising after the government’s food safety regulator branded the noodles “unsafe” and “hazardous”.

A ministry official, Mr. G.C Rout said. “We are going to file a case against Nestle and are presently collecting the material for the case,” adding that the minimum amount that could be sought was 10 million rupees ($156,000).

“There are sections of the consumer protection act that empower state and central governments to file a case in the larger interest of the consumers.” he said.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned Nestle on Friday, (June 5) from making and selling the noodles after tests found its lead levels to be above statutory limits.

Nestle denies the charges and says the noodles are safe to eat. The company had already, however, announced it was pulling the product from sale as it sought to contain growing safety concerns. Six states, including India’s capital have announced temporary bans on the sale of the instant noodles.

The FSSAI also announced on Monday that it was ordering for the testing of other brands of noodles as well as packet pasta amid growing concerns over the food safety scare. FSSAI said the 33 products made by nine companies including Nestle India and ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) will be tested for lead, arsenic and 19 other substances.

Nestle has been selling its Maggi brand for over three decades in India.

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