Over the past year, government officials have been playing a game called “ban-ban”. The ban on porn and Maggi, among others, has definitely taken a toll on certain sections of this country. As far as Maggi goes, the whole process began when the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) tested the popular instant noodles and ordered an immediate stop on its consumption and production on account of high lead content. The FSSAI has now set down an online application process asking different food products across various companies in India to state their detailed manufacturing process, ingredients and source of raw materials for approval. They have also set an upper limit as far as the inclusion of additive’s such as lead or MSG is concerned. However, in spite of all the guidelines, there is no legal provision that mandates the testing of products before approval. This is only the beginning of a series of faults within the FSSAI machinery. One of its major flaws is that once there is a notice for a ban or approval initiated, there is no system in place which ensures the smooth running of the decisions taken within the FSSAI. The ststus of delayed approval is also one of the common complaints as far as the FSSAI’s functioning is concerned. One common example of the same would be the lack of any information released by Hindustan Unilever, as far as Knorr instant noodles are concerned.
The Bombay High Court has finally lifted all the bans on the nine variants of Maggi noodles which makes the possibility of the popular fast food’s market arrival sooner than expected. However, while setting the ban aside there has also been a clause mentioned by High Court judges, Justice Kanade and Justice Colabawalla demanding to send in five samples of their noodle variants for fresh tests before bringing it back in the market. Nestle had immediately obliged to the court’s decision releasing a statement saying that they would immediately send in products for testing as they are looking for their earliest return to the Indian market. In spite of lifting the ban, the court has further slammed a Rs 640 crore fine on Nestle India for misleading advertisements, unfair trade practices, and false labelling. Nestle India has honoured the court by accepting all charges and agreeing to pay the fines with immediate notice. Nestle’s Managing Director, Suresh Narayanan issued a public notice last month that Maggi would soon be launched in the markets once again and that without any changes to its taste maker or quality in general. He further added that Maggi will also launch its 10th variant in the market, that being the Maggi masala oats noodles. After losing hundreds of crores and a loss of over 30,000 tonnes of Maggi, Nestle is finally looking to a positive front with the lift of this ban. As for ordinary people and Maggi lovers which spread across different age groups across India, the countdown has begun with only a few days left before the favourite meal of the day finally takes its route back home!