Nestle has ended its long-standing relationship with its only production contractor that made Maggi

Months after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned the sale of Maggi noodles alleging that its tastemaker has extra lead, the parent company Nestle India has finally taking its first step to make the product safer.

In a latest move, Nestle India has ended its contract with the lone third party producer of its Maggi instant noodles, SAJ Food Products, which means the Swiss food giant will no longer outsource production of the popular snack brand that was recently recalled due to safety concerns.

People in the loop opine that the 12-year contract is being put to an end as the company is trying to focus on the product itself and not depend on anyone else for production.

Nestle, however, pointed out that it had invested for capacity expansion at its own factories in 2012 to reduce dependence on contract manufacturers. "This (ending contract with SAJ) is because we have started utilising the production capacities and manufacturing facilities in our own factories post investments made in Nanjangud and Tahliwal," the company spokeswoman said.

Kolkata-based SAJ Food Products, a FSSAI-certified company that also owns biscuit brand Bisk Farm, was making nearly 12,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles a year, or 6% of its overall volume of nearly 2.24 lakh tonnes.

"We have gained a lot of insights in terms of quality control and best practices from Nestle as their contract manufacturer and the relationship will continue now as their distributor," KD Paul, chairman of SAJ Food Products whose group firm Aparna Agency has been distributing Nestle products in Kolkata for 25 years told The Economic Times.