Is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a kind of Chinese salt better known as Ajinomoto, being sold in the market without the permission?

It appears to be the case in Haryana as the health Minister, Anil Vij on Monday said that 222 shopkeepers have been raided in the state including in Jhajjar district, who were selling Chinese salt.

Replying to a question during Question Hour in the Assembly, the minister said this salt, which is used as flavor enhancer, cannot be given to the children below the age of 12 years for health reasons and no company has so far been given the clearance to sell MSG in Haryana.

Vij, however, said MSG is not banned under Goods Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Act. Thus as per Food Safety Regulations with proper labelling and level, it can be mixed in Chinese Food like Noodles, Pasta etc. Under GMP, we have not given the clearance to anyone for selling this salt in Haryana, he added.

“We keep lifting samples to check if MSG is being sold in the market. But it can’t be banned and can be used is certain Chinese dishes,” the minister said. Earlier raising the issue, Congress legislator Karan Dalal said the Chinese salt was being sold in the market in spite of its side affects specially on newborns.

“Research has shown that the Chinese salt is harmful to pregnant women and newborns as it causes damage to the brain by blocking blood and oxygen supply. It also causes diseases like blood pressure. Newborns are also having all sorts of health problems because of this. Plastic particles are also found in the salt,” he said.

When Vij informed that 222 shopkeepers have been raided in the state for selling Chinese salt, Dalal said the government must find out how was it selling in the market without the required clearance from the state government.

The minister said the government is serious on this issue and taking appropriate steps so that the people should not face any problem.

With reported side effects of the controversial MSG, there has been a debate on the ill-effects of Ajinomoto on human health. Some state governments are reported to have considered a ban on the usage of Ajinomoto which is used as an ingredient in Chinese cuisine.