Srinagar: BJP legislator Ramesh Arora of Jammu and Kashmir wants to ban the momos for better health of people, says they contain the carcinogenic monosodium glutamate or Ajinomoto.
The member of the legislative council promotes ban against the cheap street food. The savoury dumplings are so juicy that a minister in the prime minister’s office, Jitendra Singh, was also seen relishing momos at a recent function.
“Momos have been found to be the root cause of several life-threatening diseases, including cancer of the intestine,” Arora said on Wednesday, as per HT reports.
He has been speaking at public functions for the past five months, seeking a ban on the sale of momos at least in his state. He is against all Chinese cuisine as it is filled with the flavour enhancer Ajinomoto also termed as monosodium glutamate.
“Ajinomoto, a kind of salt, causes serious diseases, including cancer. It is responsible for converting a minor headache into a migraine,” he said.
He listed the ill-effects. The salt stimulates the pancreas to excrete extra drops of insulin, causing an imbalance in the body and prompts people to overeat as it triggers hunger.
“Besides memory loss, regular consumption for two to three years causes cancer of the stomach. They are found to be more harmful than alcohol and psychotropic drugs,” he said.
He met health minister Bali Bhagat recently to persuade him to prohibit the sale of momos and Chinese street food. However, the legislator is not against hygienically prepared food. He rejoices over the fact that his campaign has reduced the sale of momos in Kashmir by 35%.
“Junk food has already taken a toll on our children. There is a need to awaken the people,” he said.
The debate over monosodium glutamate’s safety is long and chequered.
The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute concluded after a study in 2007 that Ajinomoto causes stomach cancer. The WHO declared it unsafe in 2004.
But only eight of the 26 countries that use the item extensively have banned it. The US Food and Drug Administration says monosodium glutamate is generally safe.