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Swiss food giant Nestlé $100m sued in India over noodle marketing

Swiss food giant Nestlé $100m sued in India over noodle marketing

BERN: Maggi noodles, produced by Nestlé, were popular amongst Indian consumers, before being pulled from store shelves

The Indian government is seeking $100 million (CHF98 million) in damages from Swiss multinational company Nestlé for misleading advertising related to its sale of Maggi brand noodles. Officials at the consumer affairs department said they filed a complaint on Tuesday, alleging that the food giant had sold an unsafe product, through misleading advertising and had resorted to unfair trade practices.

The suit, which was filed on behalf of consumers, alleges that the company had made a misleading association between the noodles and people’s health. It said Nestlé had marketed some of its noodles as not containing monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which it says was false. The noodles, which had been hugely popular in India, were banned in June for allegedly containing high levels of lead.

The controversy began after a regulator in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh said in May that it had found excessive levels of lead in the noodles. Nestlé challenged findings by India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority in court and maintained that the product was safe for consumption but removed the noodles from store shelves throughout the country.

Tests carried out by food safety authorities in a number of countries, including Britain and Australia had concluded that the product was safe to consume.