In October 2017 the FSSAI had issued an order which had prohibited the use of tobacco and nicotine in pan masala in keeping with the prohibition and restriction on the regulation of the sales.
In the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations 2011, under the regulation ‘Prohibition and Restriction on sale of certain products’ it is stipulated that “Product not to contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.”
The FSSAI had also requested all Food Safety Officials to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance of the provisions of the above-mentioned regulation. This order had been passed as it had come to the notice of the FSSAI that the prohibited substances like gutka and pan masala containing either tobacco or nicotine or both as ingredients were available for sale in some States and UTs despite the fact that the States had already issued notifications banning these substances.
Following the Supreme Court interim order dated 23 September 2016 the Central government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had also issued a complete ban on the sale of food products that contained tobacco and nicotine as ingredients across India. This ban was for products like gutka, pan masala, zarda and mouth fresheners that contained tobacco / nicotine as flavouring ingredients.
Through a new order dated May 13, 2019 the FSSAI has stated that its previous order as stated above now stands withdrawn with immediate effect. The matter related to the food category of pan masala, gutka, etc. is under consideration which will be intimated in due course. The FSSAI’s Regulatory Compliance Department has issued this order for the information of stakeholders and their necessary action as deemed fit.
About Pan masala
Pan masala is widely used across all the strata of society in India and the fact that it is freely available makes it more accessible. However, consumers might be aware or unaware about it being carcinogenic, genotoxic, and that it can have a negative effect on the oral cavity, liver, kidneys and reproductive organs. Pan masala has emerged as a major cause of oral cancer in India. The consumers should be aware of the numerous other harmful effects of the pan before consuming it.
A review on harmful effects of pan masala
A Garg, P Chaturvedi, A Mishra, S Datta Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India `