ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Contaminated Food

With reference to your editorial, “The Noodle Muddle” (EPW, 20 June 2015), the rapid development of food processing technologies and the advent of the Green Revolution opened up, wittingly or unwittingly, avenues for contamination of our food with thousand types of exogenous chemicals called food additives—preservatives, colouring agents, flavouring agents, flavour enhancers, sweetening agents, emulsifiers, antioxidants, etc. Usually, these exogenous substances of both natural and artificial origin are intentionally added to make food attractive to consumers.

Today, junk food—food that is all about pleasure but low on nutrition—has become the world’s biggest health headache. Nestle’s Maggi Noodles is junk food. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified monosodium glutamate (MSG) as GRAS, or “generally recognised as safe,” a concern with MSG is the sodium in it. Adding it without controlling common salt may cause build-up of sodium and a heightened risk of hypertension. Nestle has exploited loopholes in Indian food safety and standard regulations that do not make mention of salt content mandatory. On the other hand, lead (Pb) is a cumulative poison and once it is absorbed, it tends to accumulate in the body.

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