An Indian Politician Wants to Ban Dumplings

"Momos have been found to be the root cause of several life-threatening diseases," Arora claims.

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Jun 12 2017, 2:02pm

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

If Ramesh Arora gets his way, there will be no mo' momos in India.

Arora is a legislator from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has been campaigning hard to ban one of the country's favorite street foods. Momos are juicy, pillowy dumplings brought to India by Tibetan refugees and, like most kinds of dumplings, are destined for ubiquity, and have become a street food staple in India rivaled only by the samosa.

Momos can be steamed or fried, vegetarian or meat-filled, but usually contain MSG, an ingredient which has been blamed not only for its allegedly addictive quality; it has also taken the heat—with little scientific evidence—for an array of serious health issues.

"Momos have been found to be the root cause of several life-threatening diseases, including cancer of the intestine," Arora said on Wednesday, according to the Hindustan Times, rattling off a list of side-effects like a character from Reefer Madness. "Besides memory loss, regular consumption for two to three years causes cancer of the stomach. They are found to be more harmful than alcohol and psychotropic drugs."

READ MORE: Tibetan Refugees Are the Masterminds Behind Delhi's Favorite Dumplings

Arora's crusade went all the way to the office of health minister Bali Bhagat, whom he tried to persuade to enforce a ban on momos (and "Chinese street food") in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Word of a possible ban sent social media users into a tizzy, many of whom called out the possible #momoban as a useless government measure.

Arora's persistence seems to be paying off, as he claims that his campaign has led to a 35 percent drop in momo sales in Jammu, though he has still not succeeded in making sale of the dumplings illegal.

While MSG continues to get a bad rap, both inside and outside of India, recent studies have not found anything wrong with MSG and the FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be "generally recognized as safe." Chew on that.