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Nestlé welcomes Supreme Court ruling in Maggi case against Indian government

Nestlé India Ltd. on Jan. 3 welcomed the Indian Supreme Court's decision to reject interim orders made by the Indian consumer commission in 2015 against the consumer food and drinks company over its Maggi brand noodles.

In June 2015, the unit of Swiss consumer giant Nestlé SA decided to temporarily stop selling Maggi noodles in India after a government laboratory in Kolkata said it found MSG and high levels of lead in samples of the noodles.

Nestlé India destroyed more than 35,000 metric tons of the product shortly after the ban and sought a judicial review of the order with the Bombay High Court.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, or NCDRC, filed a class action lawsuit against the company on Aug. 11, 2015. The commission, which was set up under India's Consumer Protection Act of 1986, claimed Nestlé India was behind "unfair trade practices, sale of defective goods and sale of goods to the public by selling Maggi Oats Noodles without product approval." The commission sought approximately 6.40 billion Indian rupees in damages on behalf of Indian consumers.

However, the High Court overturned the ban in August 2015, saying that the "principles of natural justice were not followed."

Nestlé India resumed selling Maggi noodles in the Indian market in November 2015 after three accredited laboratories, mandated by the High Court, certified that samples of the product were found to be safe for consumption.

In April 2016, Nestlé India said India's Central Food Technological Research Institute, or CFTRI, submitted analysis reports on Maggi noodles to India's Supreme Court. The reports found that 100% of the samples tested by the agency contained lead levels within permissible limits.

The company appealed to the High Court against two interim orders submitted by the NCDRC.

In response, the Supreme Court "has agreed with Nestle's contention and has set aside both the interim orders passed by NCDRC," the company said in a Jan. 3 stock exchange filing.

The court also ordered that the reports received from CFTRI to be the basis for proceedings before the NCDRC.

As of Jan. 2, US$1 was equivalent to 70.05 Indian rupees.