Leading Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta have been dragged to court for promoting Nestle’s Maggi noodles after the product was found to have higher-than-permitted levels of lead.
Another case has been lodged against Nestle India and filed by the food regulator FSDA (Food Safety and Drug Administration) in the northern Uttar Pradesh state where high lead levels were found during routine tests in two dozen packets of instant noodles, alongwith the flavour enhancing chemical monosodium glutamate MSG, in March. The FSDA ordered the company to recall the batch from stores in the state last month.
Vijay Bahadur, the state’s deputy food safety commissioner, said the case was lodged on Saturday in a local magistrate’s court against Nestle India for using misleading packaging and manufacturing potentially harmful products.
“We have filed a case against Nestle India and the store owner for manufacturing and selling the harmful product,” Bahadur told AFP.
He said the company faced a fine and officials a possible jail term if the court went ahead with a hearing and found them guilty of breaching the national Food Safety and Standards Act.
Officials of Nestle India, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle, have been asked to appear before the court on July 1, he said.
Nestle India, which sells a vast number of products in India including two- minute noodles, has rejected the FSDA’s findings and has been conducting its own tests of the batch.
“We will share our results with authorities and continue to collaborate fully with them to bring this matter to a conclusion,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
It said it did not use MSG or monosodium glutamate in its Maggi products sold in India.The company could not be immediately contacted for comment over the case.
A lawyer has also lodged a case against three Bollywood actors, including megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who advertise Maggi noodles, claiming they were endorsing a harmful product and misleading the public.
Dixit said on Saturday she met with officials of Nestle and they assured her that there would be no compromise on the quality of the popular snack.
“Like most of India, I have enjoyed Maggi noodles for years. I was very concerned after recent reports and met with the Nestle team,” she tweeted.