After Beef its Momos: BJP legislator compares Momos to Drugs; wants it banned!


NEW DELHI, June 8: Forget beef, a BJP legislator Ramesh Arora of Jammu and Kashmir now wants a ban on street 'momos' citing that they contain carcinogenic monosodium glutamate or Ajinomoto which is harmful and hazardous to health.

While the issue of 'beef' and ban of cattle trade is yet to be quelled down in India particularly in Northeast, the suggestion made by a Lawyer and BJP legislator, Ramesh Aroro is likely going to attract criticism from this part of the country since 'momos' are considered as a staple food in the region.

The member of the legislative council has been campaigning for a ban against the cheap street food, invented arguably in Nepal. The succulent savoury is so popular in India that junior minister in the prime minister's office, Jitendra Singh, was 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 adding that "Junk food has already taken a toll on our children. There is a need to awaken the people," he said.

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 also seems to be wary of 'foreigners including Bangladeshi and Burmese' engaged in the business of making and selling momos.

His food activism is not limited to the dumplings. The lawmaker is an avowed crusader against "cancer-causing" Chinese cuisine laced with monosodium glutamate, sold under the brand name Ajinomoto, a chemical flavour enhancer. "Ajinomoto, a kind of salt, causes serious diseases, including cancer. It is responsible for converting a minor headache into migraine," he said.

He met health minister Bali Bhagat recently to persuade him to prohibit the sale of momos and Chinese street food while maintaining that he isn't against food prepared hygienically and without harmful ingredients.

His hostility is towards momos — steamed and fried — in slums across Jammu that are supplied to the region's 10 districts. He takes pleasure in the fact that his campaign has crimped momo sales in Jammu by 35%.

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.

TNT News with inputs from Hindustan Times