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MP becomes first state to ban Gutkas

New Delhi: With increasing number of mouth cancer cases in the country, Madhya Pradesh has become the first state to ban all Gutka products which contain tobacco or nicotine under a new law governing food safety standards. The Madhya Pradesh Food Secretary has issued instructions to all District Collectors and Food Safety officials to ensure that the sale and manufacture of all Ghutka products in their areas is not allowed and all such material containing tobacco and nicotine be confiscated. The ban came into effect from April 1.

The State Food Secretary has also called for initiating action under the rules against all those indulging in sale and manufacture of Gutka products containing Tobacco and Nicotine. Madhya Pradesh is the first state to ban Gutka under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition & Restrictions on sales) Regulation 2011 notified by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Goa was the first state to ban Gutka under Public Health Act earlier.

The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notification effective August 5, 2011, called as Food Safety & Standards (Prohibition & Restrictions on sales) Regulation 2011, wherein Rules 2.3.4 states that no food article shall contain tobacco or nicotine in the products. Under the Food Security and Standard Assessment Act, the food and drug administration can impose a penalty of Rs 25,000 on any person found selling Gutka.

India has the highest prevalence of oral cancer globally, with 75,000 to 80,000 new cases of a year. Gutka sold in small pouches across the country has become a very serious health hazard and its easy availability and low prices make it popular among youth and women. Its flavoured taste, easy availability and low price as well as the attractive marketing ploy by companies also attracts children.

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