FSSAI seeks govts nod for consultation on lifting Khesari Dal
New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) Three variants of Khesari Dal, namely Ratan, Prateek and Mahateara, might be available in the market for consumption soon after decades of ban as the food regulator has sought the Health Ministrys approval to hold public consultation on the issue.
The dal was banned in 1961 as its consumption was linked to neurological disorder lathyrism, the paralysis of legs.
"Based on scientific evidence and details that are available from experts, we reached the conclusion that lathyrism occurs only when it is taken in very large quantity. There is no evidence of lathyrism occurring due to consumption of the dal in last 20 years," Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar said.
"So, we have asked the Health Ministry to approve a draft notification for public consultation on the matter," he said.
"The consultation will be held for 60 days during which people can give their inputs and suggestions on the matter," he said.
The decision to lift ban on Khesari Dal came after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended FSSAI that three variants of the dal are safe for use.
However, the Health Ministry officials said all food products contain some kind of toxic elements from the earth and their effect on human health depends on the usage.
They said Khesari Dal is a rich source of protein and contains little amount of toxins like any other food item.
"The toxicity level of the dal depends on its usage. The view held by the ministry is that Khesari dal is a rich source of protein and all foods will have some residues that come from the water and the soil. So that is not a major issue. The only question is whether the residual is more than what is permissible," a Ministry official said.
"It depends on what quantity one is eating. Earlier, people used to have it three times a day because of its affordability. In that case the toxicity level may go up. But now nobody takes it day-in and day-out," the Ministry official said. There is only one variety of the dal produced locally that has not been studied by ICMR. "Rest all that they have researched have been found to be normal and FSSAI has agreed to it," the official said.