New Delhi/Mumbai: Nestlé has begun production of Maggi noodles in three states after the brand cleared court-directed safety tests last week.
A Nestlé India spokesperson said the company’s plants at Nanjangud in Karnataka, Moga in Punjab and Bicholim in Goa had resumed manufacturing Maggi noodles.
“Fresh samples from these newly manufactured batches will be sent for testing to the three accredited laboratories designated by the (Bombay) High Court. We shall commence sale only after the samples are cleared by these laboratories,” the spokesperson said.
“We are engaging with authorities at other manufacturing locations to commence manufacture at the earliest,” the spokesperson added.
Nestlé produces Maggi at plants in Karnataka, Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Karnataka and Gujarat lifted the ban on Maggi noodles last week.
Nestlé’s India Managing Director Suresh Narayanan had recently said he was committed to bringing Maggi back to the marketplace. But, the company has a few hurdles to clear, with the Uttarakhand government saying last week it was in no hurry to lift the ban on production and sale of the noodles. The state government is likely to wait for the hearing on November 3 in the Uttarakhand High Court on the case. Nestlé’s largest manufacturing plant for Maggi in the country is in Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.
Maharashtra’s Food & Drug Minister Girish Bapat had indicated a week ago the state’s FDA unit would move the Supreme Court, challenging the findings of the re-test. The Maharashtra FDA is expected to file the suit in a fortnight.
The urgency with which Nestlé is moving is due to its desire to relaunch Maggi by the end of this year. The second round of re-tests that will pave the way for Maggi to be relaunched is expected to take time, and the company has to hasten production to ensure it meets the relaunch deadline.
Sources said Nestlé could have avoided some of the initial uncertainty, had it not terminated an agreement with the Kolkata-based contract manufacturer SAJ Food Products last month. West Bengal had not banned Maggi and SAJ Food Products manufactured about four per cent of Maggi’s annual volume.
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