Mangaluru

Concerns raised over arecanut being carcinogenic still prevail, says Centre

There are fears that arecanut is carcinogenic to the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus: Union Minister

More than a year after the Union government told the Lok Sabha that arecanut consumption has an adverse affect on health, the government, reiterating the same in the Lower House on Friday, said that there are concerns regarding it being carcinogenic.

Replying to an unstarred question, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare told the Lok Sabha on Friday, “There are certain studies suggesting that arecanut has adverse health effects on various organs of the body. There are also concerns regarding its being carcinogenic to the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus etc.”

Mr. Choubey was answering a question by Devusingh Jesingbhai Chauhan, MP, Kheda, in Gujarat.

The Minister said that the standards of arecanut or betelnut or supari and pan masala are prescribed under Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. Gutka, sweet/scented/flavoured arecanut products and chewing tobacco are not separately mentioned in these regulations. The use of tobacco and nicotine as ingredients in any food product is prohibited under Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.

He said that use of tobacco and nicotine as ingredients in food products including products of arecanut is already prohibited under the Regulations. However, FSSAI has no information about bans imposed by States and Union Territories on marketing and consumption of flavoured arecanut products that do not contain tobacco, or in respect of chewing tobacco.

The Minister said that according to Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, every package of supari and advertisement relating thereto shall carry the warning “chewing of supari is injurious to health”.

On December 22, 2017, then Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel, replying to an unstarred question by Om Prkash Yadav, MP, Bihar, had told the Lok Sabha that consumption of supari caused periodontitis, buccal mucositis, sub mucous fibrosis and leucoplakia, leading to oral squamous cell cancer and that the regular use of arecanut stained the mucosa, gums and teeth. To prevent use of supari, all States and Union Territories have issued orders for implementation of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales), Regulations, 2011, banning manufacture, sale and storage of gutka containing arecanut or supari, the then Minister had said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:48:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/concerns-raised-over-arecanut-being-carcinogenic-still-prevail-says-centre/article28416467.ece

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