It “appears to be a case of application of incorrect standards,” says Nestle India spokesperson.
Multinational giant Nestle is under the scanner once again as it has been fined ₹45 lakh after samples of its product Maggi tested as “sub-standard” in a district of Uttar Pradesh.
Apart from the ₹45 lakh fine imposed on Nestle, the Shahjahanpur administration has also imposed a fine of ₹17 lakh on the six distributors of the company, making the total ₹62 lakh.
Shahjahanpur Additional District Magistrate Jitendra Kumar Sharma confirmed the administration’s decision to The Hindu. “In total there were seven cases. The samples tested by the Food and Safety department of the district were found to be sub-standard,” Mr. Sharma said.
Responding to the fine, a Nestle India spokesperson said it “appears to be a case of application of incorrect standards.”
The company will file an appeal once it receives the order from the U.P. administration.
“We strongly reiterate that Maggi Noodles are 100% safe for consumption. While we have not received the orders passed by the adjudication officer, we have been informed that the samples are of year 2015 and the issue pertains to ‘ash content’ in Noodles,” the spokesperson said.
“In 2015, Nestlé India and other companies had represented to the relevant authorities, via industry associations, to set standards specific to instant noodles to avoid confusion amongst enforcement officers and consumers. The standards have since been introduced and the product complies with these standards. We regret the confusion it may cause to consumers.”
The food safety appellate tribunal in Kashmir has upheld fine of rupees four lakh imposed by a food adjudicating officer on a Madhya Pradesh-based company after analysis reports attested its skimmed milk powder samples as substandard.
Presiding officer of FSAT Kashmir Muhammad Yousuf Akhoon upheld the order of the adjudicating food officer Anantnag against Sterling Agro Industries Limited, the manufactures of NOVA brand of skimmed milk powder.
“The sample of skimmed milk powder NOVA sample has been found of substandard quality since it contained less protein content and higher ash content than the prescribed limit,” the Tribunal said.
While the Tribunal held that the skimmed milk powder was admittedly meant for distribution among different Anganwadi centers of district Anantnag, it said the company cannot escape its liability as it is the manufacturer of this skimmed milk powder that was meant for human consumption, ‘more-so by children who are prone to be affected even by the slightest adulteration in food product,”
The company had approached the Tribunal in appeal against the order of adjudicating officer food safety Anantnag who had imposed the fine on the company after a Punjab-based accredited laboratory and Kolkata-based referral laboratory declared NOVA brand of skimmed milk powder samples as substandard.
After the officer had inspected stores of ICDS project Anantnag, he lifted samples from the stocked skimmed milk powder packets that were meant for distribution among different Anganwadi centers in the district and supplied by Nazir Ahmad Kawa.
Four parts of the skimmed milk powder (one kilogram each) bearing batch no (HR 15) and manufacturing address of M/S Sterling Agro Industries Limited Ghironji Industries Area, Malanpur District (MP), were taken as samples in keeping with the procedure laid down under Section 47 of FSS Act, 2006.
For detection of any violation of the provisions of FSS Act, one part of the sample was sent to a lab food analyst Kashmir and the second part to accredited laboratory—Punjab Biotechnology Incubator, Mohali, Punjab.
The other two parts of the sample were handed over to the designated officer food safety and standards Anantnag.
While the food analyst Kashmir declared the sample as of standard quality, the Punjab-based accredited lab declared it as sub-standard in violation of the FSS Act. After the reports of the two laboratories were at variance, the second part of the sample was sent to a referral laboratory in Kolkata for final opinion.
The referral laboratory declared the sample of sub-standard quality on the basis of detection of less protein and higher ash content than the prescribed limits.
During the investigation, it was revealed that Kawa had purchased the skimmed milk powder from M/S Sterling Agro Industries Limited, the manufacturer of the food product.
The food safety officer placed the compliant before the adjudicating officer food safety (additional deputy commissioner Anantnag) and he imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh on the company after coming to the conclusion that its skimmed milk product was substandard.
“The report of referral laboratory Kolkata is to be taken as final in keeping with FSS Act,” the Tribunal said, dismissing the appeal as devoid of merit.
Meanwhile, the Tribunal ordered that the amount of penalty recovered from the appellant company which stands deposited in FDR with J&K Bank, branch old secretariat, be deposited in the government treasury along with the interest after the period of appeal is over.