KOLKATA: Hooked on Chinese cuisine? Make sure your favourite dish isn’t killing you slowly. An increasing number of people here are falling prey to stomach cancer induced by carcinogenic monosodium glutamate (ajinomoto) –– a common ingredient in Chinese food.
A study conducted by the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute has concluded that the substance — declared unsafe for consumption by WHO in 2004 — is still rampantly used and consumed in the city. NSCBCRI carried out the study on 134 patients admitted in its hospital with stomach cancer this year.
A retrospective history of the patients revealed many of them were addicted to Chinese food. “Nearly half of those with stomach, rectal and colon cancer were regular consumers of Chinese food, mostly from middle–rung or low–end restaurants, which hardly conform to health safety standards. Tests showed that most had ulcers, which can be linked to mono–sodium glutamate,” said NSCBCRI medical director Ashish Mukhopadhyay.
“Around 6% of our patients had various forms of stomach cancer. A surprisingly high percentage regularly had Chinese food. Even though we havenâ€™t had any trial with the substance, it can easily be concluded that ajinomoto is a factor,” he added.
Senior city medics agreed with the conclusion. “It is widely used despite warnings, and since awareness is low, people donâ€™t bother to find out if the food is safe. I have had scores of patients who are victims of mono–sodium glutamate. If diagnosed late, stomach cancer is obviously fatal,” said oncologist Subir Ganguly.
Source: The Times Of India