Editorial

Harmful food items

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/3/2018 12:18:52 PM IST

 There are far too many unscrupulous traders who are selling highly adulterated food items. Food safety that should include stringent inspections of kitchens and cooking items used in all restaurants and hotels. The recent ban on imported fish varieties continues and in a way, this has given a big opportunity for local fish growers to meet the insatiable market demand. In Dimapur, the system for preventing or detecting fake and adulterated items is still not in place. The market is flooded with items most of which are potentially harmful when consumed over a long period. The world of fast food is itself a source of many harmful food items which are laced with additions to make the appearance alluring and also to taste good. There are also harmful chemical substances used for artificial ripening such as carbide; chemical dyes sprayed on vegetables to make them look fresh and green or steroids and hormones fed to cattle, especially pigs for fast growth by 40% over normal growth. There are also additives such as gluten used in bakery products, which is known to cause stomach ulcers and banned in many states. Poultry and their produce, milk and items of meat are also not free from chemicals for the sake of profit. Chemical dyes used for artificial colouring in food items including recycled oil are also common offenses which have to be rooted out. Mono Sodium Glutamate(MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. MSG as a food ingredient remains controversial. In Australia and New Zealand, no food additive — including MSG- is approved for use in food until its safety has been established by FSANZ. Consumption of food laced with MSG can cause headaches, worsen asthma, cause chest pain or palpitations, or cause mild mood changes or other symptoms, all of which are collectively referred to as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (because MSG is commonly found in Asian-style meals).Some of the popular foods that have a significant content of MSG include the popular KFC, flavoured Pringles, Doritos etc. Another highly toxic substance added to extend shelf life of processed food such as noodles is Tertiary-Butyl Hydro Quinone (TBHQ) also remains for long time in the stomach. TBHQ is a by product of petroleum industry and listed as “antioxidant” but it is only a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties not a natural antioxidant. This substance is also used in all processed foods sold by popular McDonalds chicken, Kellogg’s Cheez-It crackers, Reese’s peanut butter cups, crackers, frozen pizza etc. There are also many more who sell expired food items including medicines. These require to be constantly monitored. While various state government throughout the country have been pulling up their respective departments responsible for consumer affairs, environment and food safety to name a few to prevent offences having serious consequences on the health and lives of people; the government of Nagaland appears to be not proactive as desired. Perhaps it is in this field, that voluntary organisations need to be roped in and given some basic training to detect harmful food items in the market after which the government can take legal action.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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