The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has banned the use of ‘Ajinomoto’, popularly known as China salt, in food served at restaurants and in processed food products available over the counter.
A notification issued on Monday said that the decision was taken on recommendation of PFA’s Scientific Panel. It said that an active ingredient in the salt, Mono-Sodium Glutamate (MSG), was injurious to human health, and was related to hazards like frequent headaches, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, memory loss, and disturbance of nervous system. MSG was believed to be particularly harmful for women during pregnancies.
The notification observed that China salt was mostly used in food served at restaurants and hotels.
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Under the Punjab Pure Food Regulations of 2017, the use of ingredients with MSG is already strictly forbidden in weaning foods, oils, and frozen meat and fish.
Speaking on the occasion, PFA director general Noorul Amin Mengal said that under the Punjab Pure Food Regulations 2017, it was mandatory for all food businesses to mention clearly on their products if MSG was present among the ingredients. He said the compound was unfit for use by infants less than 12 months old.
The PFA has given two months to all food businesses to adjust to the new directive and remove use of Ajinomoto in their products. The directive says that strict action will be taken against businesses found serving food prepared with Ajinomoto after the end of the adjustment period on March 31.