India: Maggie:- 2 Minutes Noodle Controversy And The Legal Issues Involved


The recent controversy with respect to MNC Giant Nestle's Maggie noodles across the country has once again opened the Pandora box with respect to dual safety standards being followed by the MNC food company in the Country and the yesterdays haunt of pesticides in Coke and Pepsi is once again looking to revisit. The article deals with the recent controversy with respect to Maggie noodles viz. the presence of higher Monosodium Glutmate than the prescribed limit and the Order dated 05th June, 2015 bearing No. 10/Q.A/Enforcement Issues/FSSAI-2015 issued by Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as FSSAI) under the various provisions of Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as "FSS Act''), 2006 inter alia directing the Nestle India Ltd to withdraw and recall various variants of its products has made it .


The recent controversy erupted from Barabanki District of Uttar Pradesh where samples of Maggie noodles were collected by Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration and the same was found to contain lead, MSG. Pertinently, the order dated 5th June issued by FSSAI has classified the issues with respect to Maggie. The First is the presence of lead in excess of maximum permissible levels of 2.5 ppm, misleading labelling information on the package reading "no added MSG" Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead and release of non-standardized food product in the market viz. Maggie Oats Masala Noodles with tastemaker1. Shockingly, after the lab tests in Uttar Pradesh it was revealed that 2 minute noodle contained 17 parts per million lead, while the prescribed and permissible limit is only 0.01 ppm2. Even the content of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in it was found at levels above the dangerous mark. The various articles dealing with the harmful effects of MSG has clearly outlined that impressible and high intake MSG can have very dangerous impact on health and it can lead to Obesity, Eye damage, Headaches, Fatigue and disorientation, Depression3 amongst others. Therefore as a result of high presence of Lead and MSG particles in Maggie, the various State Government conducted a lab test in to find the content of the same and almost quite a few States including Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu Kashmir and Uttarakhand4 have imposed ban on sale of Maggie after the 2 minutes noodles failed the lab test in these respective states. The ban imposed by State Government on sale of Maggie and its products from the market eventually resulting in the recall of Maggie products from the market.


A) Legal Issues dealing with June 5 FSSAI Order and the Provisions under FSS Act, 2006

In brief the order dated 5th June, 2015 issued by Food Safety and Standard Authority of India, Delhi has held M/s. Nestle India Ltd liable inter alia under Section 20, 22, 23 and 24 r/w Section 53, Section 26, 27,48, 50, 52 and 58 and 595 amongst others of the FSS Act, 20066. The FSSI order published and available on the public domain inter alia also directed M/s. Nestle India Ltd to withdraw and recall the 9 approved variants of Maggie instant Noodles from the market since these products having been found unsafe and hazardous for human consumption. The Authority also directed the company to further stop the production, processing, import, distribution and sale of the instant products from immediate effect, and also to immediately withdraw and recall "Maggie Oats Masala Noodles with Tastemaker" since the product has still not been approved by the Competent Authority.

Section 20 deals with Contaminants, naturally occurring toxic substances, heaving metals etc which states that food products will only contain the quantities as specified by the regulations. Section 22 deals with genetically modified foods, organic foods, functional foods, proprietary foods7. It is this "proprietary food" provision that has been used against Maggie Oats Masala Noodles with Tastemaker whereby M/s. Nestle India Ltd was asked to recall and withdraw the product with immediate effect. Section 23 of the FSSI Act deals with packaging and labelling of foods, M/s. Nestle India Ltd has been prima facie being liable under this section since the label of Maggie specifies that the product does not contain any MSG whereas lab testing of the product confirmed that the MSG presence was much higher than the prescribed limit.

Section 278 deals with liability of the manufacturers, packers and wholesalers, distributors and sellers and amongst various other liability Section 27 (3) (c) deals with liability of wholesalers and distributors for unsafe and misbranded. Section 489 in detail covers provisions relating to offences.

The company has challenged the order dated 5th June, 2015 issued by FSSAI and order dated June 6th issued by Maharashtra FDA whereby direction was issued to recall Maggie products from the market before the Hon'ble Bombay High Court.

B) Legal Issues with respect to Celebrities liability for Brand Endorsement under FSS Act, 2006

Pertinently, this section is important since the Ld. Muzzfarpur Court in Bihar has asked Police to register FIR against Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Priety Zinta10 who were said to be endorsing Maggie products through advertisements. Quite interestingly, the FSS Act appears to be vague when it comes to impose liability on celebrities for endorsing the products which is otherwise found to be unsafe and hazardous. It is pertinent to appreciate some of the relevant provisions dealing with advertisement under the FSS Act. Section 3 (1) (b) of the Act defines "advertisement11" and section 24 (1)12 of the Act deals with Restrictions of Advertisements and prohibitions as to unfair trade practises. Section 53 of the Act deals with penalty for misleading advertisement13 and it imposes a penalty of Rs. 10,00,000/- for misleading advertisement. The definition of advertisement is very wide when it comes to the liability of brand endorsers more so because there are various stake holders involved in branding starting from the company, advertisement agency and then the celebrities who endorse the product. Further, besides imposing a fine of Rs. 10 lakh, it is difficult to prosecute the celebrity because for the act done in good faith one cannot held to be liable.

Maggie in its defence has categorically and out rightly denied the presence of excess MSG and lead in its composition and rather has contended that the presence of MSG and lead is natural phenomenon. The statement issued by Maggie read as under:-

"We do not add Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) to Maggi Noodles. We use raw materials that may contain naturally occurring Glutamate and which could be confused with commercially produced MSG. Glutamate is safe and is found in everyday and high protein foods including tomatoes, peas, paneer, onions, milk.14"

Thus it can be inferred that Nestle has shielded itself from any culpability and has sought to justify MSG as natural phenomenon.


The Fault dear Brutus, is not in our Stars, But in Ourselves15. This is the very famous quote from the masterpiece Julius Ceaser, a play written by William Shakespeare. Thus the point which is being emphasised is that our system itself is not full proof to deal with such kind of action and issues with Iron hand. The Coke controversy is not very old wherein it was brought to the knowledge that the standard and the ingredients followed by the MNC giants while preparing the soft drink is different in European Countries as compared to the Asian countries to be more precise Afro-Asian Countries. As of now we don't have the prevalence of product liability in India whereby the company can be sued for the deficiency of their products and compensation can be claimed in considerable amount as the same is prevalent in United States and Other European Countries. Even though Nestle has recalled its products, Maggie controversy has given our lawmakers to revisit the entire Consumer Protection Act and ensure that the concept of Product Liability is incorporated in the Act.


1 (Visited on 20th June, 2015)

2 Maggi noodles controversy: Case to be filed against Nestle in UP today; (Last Visited on 20th June, 2015)

3 MSG: Is This Silent Killer Lurking in Your Kitchen Cabinets; ( Last Visited on 21st June, 2015)

4 Trouble escalates for Maggi as four more states impose ban -   (Last visited on 21st June, 2015)

5 Food Safety And Standards Act, 2006, (Last visited on 21st June, 2015)

6 (Last visited on 21st June, 2015)

7 "proprietary and novel food" means an article of food for which standards have not been specified but is not unsafe: See Section 22 (4) of the FSSI Act, 2006

8 (1) The manufacturer or packer of an article of food shall be liable for such article of food if it does not meet the requirements of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

(2) The wholesaler or distributor shall be liable under this Act for any article of food which is–

(a) Supplied after the date of its expiry; or

(b) Stored or supplied in violation of the safety instructions of the manufacturer; or

(c) Unsafe or misbranded; or 28

(d) Unidentifiable of manufacturer from whom the article of food have been received; or

(e) Stored or handled or kept in violation of the provisions of this Act, the rules and regulations made thereunder; or

(f) received by him with knowledge of being unsafe.

(2) The seller shall be liable under this Act for any article of food which is –

(a) sold after the date of its expiry; or

(b) handled or kept in unhygienic conditions; or

(c) misbranded; or

(d) unidentifiable of the manufacturer or the distributors from whom such articles of food were received; or

(e) received by him with knowledge of being unsafe.

9 48. General provisions relating to offences.

(1) A person may render any article of food injurious to health by means of one or more of the following operations, namely:-

(a) adding any article or substance to the food;

(b) using any article or substance as an ingredient in the preparation of the food;

(c) abstracting any constituents from the food; or

(d) subjecting the food to any other process or treatment, with the knowledge that it may be sold or offered for sale or distributed for human consumption.

(2) In determining whether any food is unsafe or injurious to health, regard shall be had to –

(a) (i) the normal conditions of use of the food by the consumer and its handling at each stage of production, processing and distribution;

(ii) the information provided to the consumer, including information on the label, or other information generally available to the consumer concerning the avoidance of specific adverse health effects from a particular food or category of foods not only to the probable, immediate or short-term or long-term effects of that food on the health of a person consuming it, but also on subsequent generations;

(iii) to the probable cumulative toxic effects;

(iv) to the particular health sensitivities of a specific category of consumers where the food is intended for that category of consumers; and

(v) also to the probable cumulative effect of food of substantially the same composition on the health of a person consuming it in ordinary quantities;

(b) the fact where the quality or purity of the article, being primary food, has fallen below the specified standard or its constituents are present in quantities not within the specified limits of variability, in either case, solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency, then such article shall not be deemed to be unsafe or sub-standard or food containing extraneous matter. Explanation – For the purposes of this section, "injury", includes any impairment, whether permanent or temporary, and "Injurious to health" shall be construed accordingly.

10 Court orders FIR against Amitabh, Madhuri, Preity over Maggi row;   (Last visited on 21st June, 2015)

11 (b) "advertisement" means any audio or visual publicity, representation or pronouncement made by means of any light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes through any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or other documents;

12 (1) No advertisement shall be made of any food which is misleading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of this Act, the rules and regulations made thereunder.

13 53. Penalty for misleading advertisement.

(1) Any person who publishes, or is a party to the publication of an advertisement, which–

(a) falsely describes any food; or

(b) is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of any food or gives false guarantee, shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to ten lakh rupees.

(2) In any proceeding the fact that a label or advertisement relating to any article of food in respect of which the contravention is alleged to have been committed contained an accurate statement of the composition of the food shall not preclude the court from finding that the contravention was committed.

14 No MSG in Maggi Noodles, Says Nestle, as States Reportedly Ask for Tests;

15 Julius Ceasar (Act I, Scene II) Play written by Shakespeare

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions