After lab tests uncovered the disturbing truth that Maggi noodles contained a much larger amount of lead in their content than is legal, India decided to take Nestle to court. In cases such as these, it is oftentimes hard to predict who will come out on top, however, this particular case turned out much different than expected.
The Indian government filed a class action lawsuit against Nestle for an astounding 6.4 billion rupees, which is worth around $99 million in U.S dollars. This lawsuit made Nestle the first foreign firm to be asked to pay for damages on behalf of consumers.
The lead that was found inside of the Maggi noodles product provided one of the largest industrial food scares that the nation had ever encountered. In a press statement, the government announced:
“In recent months, we had over 2,700 samples of MAGGI Noodles tested by several accredited laboratories both in India and abroad. Each one of these tests have shown lead to be far below the permissible limits,”
Maggi noodles had actually been a very popular convenience food in India, and was actually the fastest selling food in the nation as well. In India, 15 billion Rupees ($240 million) were sold each year. Testing also detected trace amounts of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the noodle product as well. Nestle India appealed to Mumbai’s High Court, however, the noodles still received a ban from sales across the country in 2015. Since then, they have been returned to shops in India.
Of course, Nestle has experienced a major drop in the sales of their noodle product due to the lawsuit. To add insult to injury, the major corporation also took a loss because of various product recalls and for damages paid. The overall cost of the issue ended up being around half a billion dollars. While that is a hefty price tag for a punishment, it appears to be well deserved.