New Delhi: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya responded to MP Nishikant Dubey's letter demanding a ban on the use of betel nut for human consumption, saying that his request was examined by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and discussed at the 24th meeting of the Scientific Panel on Fruits and Vegetables and their Products on September 27, 2021.
"ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute and Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development have been requested by a letter dated 14.10. 2021 to provide the required information regarding the negative effects of Betel Nut consumption in Pan Masala," the letter added. The Health Minister further stated that the subject will be investigated by a scientific panel, and that the matter will be resolved based on the findings.
"The scientific panel on fruits and vegetables and their products, including dried fruits and nuts, will study and handle the subject based on the data information to be obtained from above-set institutes," the letter stated.
Nishikant Dubey, a BJP MP from Jharkhand, wrote Prime Minister Narendra Modi a letter on July 10, 2021, urging him to outlaw the use of betel nuts (supari) for human use, stating it causes severe diseases such as cancer.
He said that betel nuts aggravate systemic adverse effects on the human body, such as cancer, cardiovascular-related problems, side effects on the endocrine and reproductive systems, blood, and respiratory systems, and that if pregnant women consume betel nuts, the foetus may have birth abnormalities.