Even as the Indian government sued noodle maker Nestle India for Rs 640 crore in damages for 'misleading' consumers that its Maggi noodles was 'healthy', the United States food regulator has said Maggi noodles is safe to eat.
The United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) tested samples of Maggi noodles and found it safe to eat as lead level was within the permissible limit for US consumers. The instant noodle continues to remain off the shelves in India.
"Following news reports about alleged lead levels in Maggi noodles made by Nestle and sold in the US, FDA tested a limited number of samples for lead contamination. FDA testing did not find any levels that present a public health concern for US consumers," PTI quoted a USFDA spokesperson as saying in a statement.
The samples tested by USFDA contained products exported to the US from India and were all found safe, a Nestle India spokesperson said, according to PTI.
"We have learnt from our official importer in the United States, House of Spices, that USFDA has tested several shipments of Maggi noodles from India for lead content. Finding no unsafe lead levels, FDA released the noodles for sale in the United States."
Days after Maggi noodle was banned in June this year after samples of the product were found to be "unsafe and hazardous" to eat, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), a FSSAI-approved laboratory, tested samples of the noodles and found it safe for consumption.
"CFTRI finding shows that samples are in compliance with the food safety standards as per the Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011," Goa FDA Director Salim A Veljee told PTI.
Despite the clearance, the Modi government has filed a class action suit against Nestle India, with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, seeking Rs 640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.
Nestle India has, however, denied receiving an official notice. "We are yet to receive an official notice about the complaint filed before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). We shall be able to provide substantive response after we receive the official papers," the company said in a BSE filing.
Nestle India had withdrawn Maggi noodles from the market after FSSAI banned the product in India.