'Nestle targeting to get Maggi back by year-end'
Nestle India Chief Suresh Narayanan on Friday said the Indian arm of the company is trying to get Maggi noodles back into the market by the year-end.
In an interview with India Today TV, Narayanan said: "We are targeting to get the product (into the market) by the end of this year. By the end of September the process of testing, which has been directed by the Bombay High Court should be completed."
Narayanan said if Maggi noodles clear all the tests by accredited laboratories, as directed by the Bombay High Court, the Swiss company would start manufacturing the popular noodles in India, after which there would be another round of tests.
Regarding Rs.640 crore class action suit filed by the government for unfair trade practices, Narayanan said the company was extremely "disappointed".
"As far as Nestle is concerned, we are very disappointed with the case that has been preferred on us. It's a case on the grounds entirely based on FSSAI's contentions which have been presented before the high court," he said.
"This is a question of our trust and reputation, and we would defend it vigorously when called upon to do so," Narayanan added.
He said the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI) legitimacy and importance has never been under contention, as far as Nestle is concerned.
The food regulator has the right to set the standards, to monitor the food quality and safety in the country, Narayanan added.
"Nestle has never challenged the standards, what we have looked at is the fact that there are three elements of the testing regime -- infrastructure, equipment, protocols and the quality of people who are actually doing the tests," he said.
He continued to maintain that the products of Nestle, including Maggi noodles, have always been and will be safe for consumption.
Naryanan also said, "Out of 2,700 tests done on Maggi noodles, 1,100 have been done in accredited laboratories, both domestic and overseas. But not a single test has failed to meet the standards or specifications on lead."
The Bombay High Court on August 13 lifted the ban on Maggi noodles, ordering fresh tests within six weeks to check if it complies with the country's food safety norms.
On June 5, the industry watchdog had said in its ban order that tests conducted on a batch of Maggi were found to contain more-than-permissible levels of lead and high quantities of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG).
The company, following the watchdog's observation and ban, had recalled the product from the market. - IANS