In a bid to prevent the Coronavirus outbreak, the Haryana government has banned the sale and distribution of chewing gums and bubble gums for the next three months as saliva droplets are considered to have a potential of transmitting the deadly contagion. The state government has also asked the concerned authorities to effectively ban the sale of Gutkha and Pan Masala throughout the state.
The state Food and Drug Administration order undersigned by Food and Drug commissioner Ashok Kumar Meena on April 1 states, “Whereas the World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic, there are more than 13,000 people who are under the surveillance in the state of Haryana. It is necessary to take further steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Whereas COVID-19 transmits through droplets, there may be a possibility of transmitting COVID-19 by spitting of chewing gum/bubble gum towards another person.”
As per reports, the copy of the order which is sent to all the deputy commissioners, superintendent of police, civil surgeons and others officials states, “Whereas under the law and interest of public health the commissioner of food safety is responsible for prohibiting in the interest of public health the manufacture, storage, distribution or sale of any article of food whereas the undersigned in duly authorized under clause (a) of subsection (2) of section 30 of the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 (Central Act 34 of 2006) to make this order.”
The order further stated, “Therefore in the exercise of the powers conferred by the clause (a) of subsection (2) of section 30 of the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 (Central Act 34 of 2006). I, Ashok Kumar Meena IAS Commissioner Food and Drug Administration department, Haryana hereby prohibit the sale and use of chewing gums/bubble gums and similar products or otherwise by what so ever named called, where packaged or unpackaged and/or sold as one product or through packaged as separate products sold or distributed in any manner whatsoever in the interest of public health for a period of three months from date of issue of this order till June 30 in the state of Haryana.”
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had banned the sale and distribution of Gutkha and Pan Masala in the state.