Monday, 30th October 2017

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Call for law against use of ajinomoto

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By DEEPANKAR GANGULY
  • Published 5.10.05
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Think twice before you treat your child to a meal of chowmein and chilli chicken. It could impair his mental growth. A snack of potato chips is just as dangerous.

?Fast food, like rolls, potato chips and chowmein, contain a harmful, taste-enhancing chemical called monosodium glutamate, popularly known as ajinomoto. Unless checked, the effects of this chemical will be more widespread than smoking, since the consumers of fast food outnumber smokers,? warned Iva Bhattacharya, senior dietician in the state health department and wife of the mayor.

The nutrition division of the department is planning to organise an awareness campaign on the ill-effects of ajinomoto. It also has plans to pressure the state government for a law against use of ajinomoto in food.

Countries like China and Japan have banned the use of ajinomoto in eatables, but the chemical is still indiscriminately used in almost all fast food preparations available in Calcutta, from chanachur to soup.

?Unfortunately, most parents are not aware of the harm they?re doing to their child by giving them food containing ajinomoto,? added Bhattacharya.

?There are other problems as well with fast food. For example, preparation of potato chips involves heating of oil above 400 degrees Centigrade. The high temperature decomposes fatty acids in potatoes. This impairs elasticity of blood vessels and raises blood pressure,? she said.

According to doctors, ajinomoto is not only detrimental to the development of brain cells, but is also carcinogenic. It takes around seven to eight years for the harmful effects of the chemical to manifest in children.