Maharashtra government says cancer causing ajinomoto cannot be banned

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Maharashtra government on Monday expressed its inability to ban ajinomoto, a product used to enhance the flavour of cuisine, especially Chinese food.

The substance is not illegal and hence it cannot be prohibited, said Jaykumar Rawal, the minister for food and drugs administration (FDA).

BJP MLA Tamil Selvan had raised the issue in the State Legislative Assembly saying that ajinomoto should be banned saying it causes health hazards.

“Ajinomoto is used in large quantity while preparing Chinese food. The substance causes several ailments, at times resulting in a dreaded disease like cancer. Such food items are sold in open outside schools and colleges across the state. Hence, ajinomoto should be banned permanently and action should be taken against vendors, who sell substandard food outside the schools and colleges, he said.

Replying to this, Rawal said, as ajinomoto is not a prohibited substance, it cannot be banned.

“However, it would be checked whether the process of ajinomoto production is properly followed at the manufacturing units,” Rawal said.

Ajinomoto (Mono-Sodium glutamate) is a salt prepared using lycopene, a red pigment in tomato. If consumed in excess, it can lead cancer relating colon, rectal and stomach. While experts suggest against use of the product used in preparation of wafers and instant foods like Maggi, its side effects are not scientifically proven.

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