Deadly attack on people’s health by multinational companies

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Health conditions are very worrying. The diet of the Indian middle class is getting worse and worse. As the income and expenditure of the middle class is increasing, it is getting more opportunities to increase the amount of calories in its body. Anyway, Indians are traditionally food lovers.

The harmful effects of multinational companies’ food and packaged products on health have been discussed for decades, but as the disease of merge medicine has increased, the situation is being seen. Now, on the basis of the findings of various researches, the World Health Organization has considered artificial sweeteners mixed in foods and beverages as a cancer-causing factor. It is not only about artificial sweeteners, it is also about crushing the healthful reasons of Indian food and deadly attacks on health.

The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) has recently reported in a study that some of the delicious food items sold by multinational companies contain ingredients harmful to health. There was a strong reaction to this. Indians relishing tea and bhujia, cold drinks and samosas, butter chicken and naan sparked a debate as to how it could be harmful. The questions raised about the quality of Maggi made by Nestle company in India are also surprising. The health of the people of the country is at stake due to the increasing prevalence of adulterated food and canned products, but there is no situation to control them. Under the guise of foreign capital and employment, the economic ambitions of these companies, wrong activities and health-destroying conditions should not be accepted at any cost. Only quality food items in the country can protect the health of the people, for this strict laws as well as political will have to be shown.

Unhealthy food products from multinational companies have become a widespread problem. Educated-uneducated, poor-rich, men-women, young-adults all are troubled by being addicted to these products. Due to their excessive consumption, everyone has complaints of one or the other disease. There is an impenetrable circle of diseases all around. The main reason for the ever-increasing diseases is the inclusion of food products of multinational companies in Indian food. New medical methods and inventions are failing to prevent these diseases. As science creates anti-disease medicines, diseases are being presented in new forms, new names and in new environments, the reason for these increasing diseases is junk food, packaged products and artificial sweeteners. Consumers have to pay for the negligence of investigative agencies, lack of resources, corruption, lack of Centre-State co-operation and poor penal system by risking their health.

In the world, artificial sweeteners are used indiscriminately in drinks, sodas, chewing gums etc. of multinational soft drink companies. In fact, the study of the Cancer Research Division of the International Agency IARC and the World Health Organization has been cited regarding the carcinogenic effect on humans. Undoubtedly, these findings have raised concerns among consumers around the world, who have long been indecisive about consuming these products. Experts don’t buy into the old argument that products made with a limited amount of artificial sweeteners aren’t harmful and can be used. Surely multinational companies are playing with people’s health for their profit, yet any talk against these companies, which are effective in powerful countries of the world, used to remain as the voice of Tuti in Nakkar Khana. Such companies are also spreading rapidly in India.

Instant noodles, potato chips, cold drinks have wreaked havoc in Indian families, all these food and beverage products may be tasty but their consumption is ruining the health. Their popularity is increasing, after all why not increase, all our big superstars advertise them. After all, how can a product be harmful if it has a cute baby voice in its advertisement or advertisements like ‘love your grandparents’ ‘something sweet’ for every occasion from birthday to wedding There are people who play with emotional values. If we are to believe these advertisements, then we will find that people who consume Cadbury, Chips and Cola are more loving, civilized, modern and sensitive than ordinary people and you can prove to be better friends because of burgers and fried chicken. So what is the matter after all? Cadbury has clouded the future of Indian native sweets.

Health conditions are very worrying. The diet of the Indian middle class is getting worse and worse. As the income and expenditure of the middle class is increasing, it is getting more opportunities to increase the amount of calories in its body. Anyway, Indians are traditionally food lovers. In such a situation, if tasty but cheap foods are easily available then what to say. Even if this taste is poisonous. Add to this the lack of awareness and unethical advertising culture, then we will find that we are moving towards a frightening situation. We do not need any laboratory study to check that some of the things we are eating are really harmful to our health. A juice brand sells a juice that can contain up to eight teaspoons of sugar per glass. A pack of instant noodles is nothing more than impure and unrefined starch. The so-called nutritional foods made from barley, which are fed to babies with milk, are full of sugar. The expensive food items that are taken for breakfast, their health value is not even as much as a simple roti. Fried potato chips and patty burgers are definitely not healthy items. Despite this, the manufacturers of these products spend crores of rupees on brand TV advertisements to create a desire for these products in our minds.

Because of these products, we are gaining weight, living stress and depression, diabetes patients are reaching the peak, the statistics of heart diseases are also shocking due to the increasing prevalence of these foods. Surely there will be a fresh debate in the whole world about the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners, packaged products and junk food. It is not just about the products of multinational companies, the sweets and namkeens that we consider a part of our traditional heritage, the kind of spicy broth served in homes and restaurants, the kind of samosas and pakoras sold at railway stations. Yes, they are all harmful to us. But neither the government, nor these companies, nor we are concerned about it. We may have to pay the price for this in the years to come. The prosperity we take pride in today may prove to be a costly affair for us. People who have nothing to eat consider food as a basic need, but those who do not have any problem of sustenance, consider it as another means of enjoyment. However, excess of everything is bad. We need to crack down on MNCs, because they don’t seem to serve nutrition in their products or follow any ethics in advertisements. If they are selling something that can have fatal long term consequences, they should disclose it. Our children should be protected from companies selling junk. Advertisements should be brought within the ambit of rules and regulations. Poisoning in food is a big danger for the people of the country, to save people from this danger, it is not appropriate to solve it merely by considering it as a business or systemic problem, but a strict and fair law system should be made. However, this issue is bound to get a new discourse in the world. This step is also necessary from the point of view of public health.

-Lalit Garg

(The author is a senior journalist and columnist)

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