Nearly two years after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had banned Nestlé’s flagship noodles brand Maggi in India, a closed-door meeting between representatives of the regulator and the multinational (MNC) has opened up possibilities for them to join hands.
After lengthy courtroom battles and tonnes of Maggi noodles were destroyed, the FSSAI and Nestlé
had been looking for common ground.
Finally the happy medium was struck on Wednesday, when FSSAI Chief Executive Officer Pawan Agarwal
shook hands with Nestlé
India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan, as the former inaugurated the first food safety institute established by Nestlé
in the country in Manesar.
can also help with its global expertise in areas of food science, which will help the FSSAI to take decisions while formulating regulations”
CMD, Nestlé India
The dispute had started with allegations of laxity on the part of Nestlé
in maintaining food safety standards.
Food Safety Institute (NFSI) is the third such state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) centre for training on food safety set up by the Swiss MNC
The initiative was first taken when Narayanan and Agarwal were in search of ways to “engage” on issues of food safety in India. According to sources, the idea dawned on Agarwal when Narayanan was describing the contributions its second NFSI, located in Beijing, had made towards the country’s food safety regulations.
Acknowledging Nestlé’s efforts at providing safe food in India, Agarwal said: “Partnerships with private parties on issues of the food business and its research are an imperative for the FSSAI. Joining hands with partners like Nestlé
is a well-thought-out strategy. This is our effort to implement a first world regulatory ecosystem in India.”
“Joining hands with partners like Nestlé is a well-thought-out strategy. This is our effort to implement a first world regulatory ecosystem in India”
According to Narayanan, Nestlé
is interested in engaging with and helping the FSSAI on diverse matters. “Nestlé
can also help with its global expertise in areas of food science, which will help the FSSAI to take decisions while formulating regulations,” he said.
“Milestones are reached by companies
at certain stages. For me, this (opening the institute with the FSSAI’s support) is a milestone, and it reflects Nestlé’s commitment,” Narayanan said.
The R&D centre, where the NFSI has been set up, has been Nestlé’s global hub for research on noodles and spices since March 2014.
The FSSAI and the company are now looking to offer courses for food safety professionals associated with the former and state food and drug administrations.
After Maggi was banned on June 5, 2015, Nestlé
not only lost more than Rs 1,000-crore in sales and the erosion of its brand value, the proscription order had created a lot of premonition among consumers.