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The Maggi episode fallout: A ban,ban,ban,ban world

Manas Chakravarty writes on what it would be like to live in a world that bans everything arbitrarily.

columns Updated: Jun 13, 2015 23:14 IST

(Business Standard, June 8: After Maggi, vegetables and milk to be tested for adulteration)

July 2015: We have detected harmful substances in tea and coffee after finding them in instant noodles, pasta and macaroni. We, the Food Safety Department, therefore, hereby order the withdrawal of all tea and coffee in the market.

Aug 2015: Media reports tell us the government is doing its best to ban Green Peas (ignorantly spelt Greenpeace in newspapers), because they are a menace to society. To assist in this noble endeavour, we direct all vendors selling green peas to immediately burn their stocks.

Sep 2015: Our rivers and coastal waters are terribly polluted. Fish found in these waters contain all kinds of noxious elements. We therefore ban the consumption of fish.

Oct 2015: Given the detection of unacceptable levels of adulterants, all milk is forbidden. Consumers may, however, obtain milk directly from cows, buffaloes, goats, etc.

Nov 2015: In view of the threat of secession from the people of Goa, Kerala and West Bengal, we revoke our order on fish.

Dec 2015: After finding large quantities of alum in bread, no shop should stock bread.

Jan 2016: We are recruiting millions of biologists, pathologists, bacteriologists, microbiologists et al to eradicate adulteration. Apply now.

Feb 2016: No, we do not need proctologists.

Mar 2016: With reference to the milk ban, we have received many queries whether babies should be given alcohol instead. While we agree consuming alcohol will give babies a cheery disposition, we clarify they can continue to drink mothers’ milk.

Apr 2016: Stones and sand found in rice and flour. Both banned. Pesticides found in vegetables. All vegetables burnt.

May 2016: Wannabe suicides have bitterly complained that poisons are ineffective. We are drawing up a list of approved ingredients for poisons.

Jun 2016: All street food is banned till we determine permissible levels of sweat and grime.

Jul 2016: Given lead, arsenic and other chemicals found in tap water, all taps are being permanently turned off.

Aug 2016: Now that food riots have broken out across the country, several people have asked us whether it is safe to eat humans. Please wait till we draw up minimum standards for a cannibal diet.

Sep 2016: Given the huge amount of pollution in the air, we are banning it immediately. Oxygen masks are now mandatory.

Oct 2016: We oppose the government bill on ‘Right to Slow Poisoning and Clogged Arteries’, which wants to scuttle our good work. However, we hereby allow the consumption of ganja. It may be bad for the body, but it’s good for the soul.

Nov 2016: Everybody from now on will feed intravenously.

Dec 2016: We offer for sale fabulous homes in domed communities. Sterile environments under geodesic domes, with in-house air supply, own organic and natural foods, home-grown plants and animals, de-toxed water supply and other safe and healthy stuff. Book early.

(Manas Chakravarty is consulting editor, Mint
The views expressed are personal)

First Published: Jun 13, 2015 23:05 IST