Easing restrictions

Published: Saturday 31 March 2001

the Union ministry of health and family welfare has proposed to do away with the restrictions imposed on the use of monosodium glutamate (msg), commonly known as ajinomotto, in processed food. The draft regarding the amendments was released on February 7, 2001. The chemical, used to enhance the flavour of processed food, is alleged to cause nerve cell damage leading to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease.

The decision has been taken under pressure from the industry, says an official from the ministry, on condition of anonymity. "The Indian industry claims that it is at a disadvantage as imported processed food containing msg do not carry warnings," says Bejon Misra, of the Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education, a Delhi-based non-government organisation.

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