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Free the grasspea

Is there a valid scientific reason for the grasspea (Lathyrus sativus) ban in India? We’ve blogged about this before. Mongabay is now on the case.

The claim that khesari dal can cause lathyrism is increasingly being challenged by researchers who feel that the ban was not based on systemic research over a prolonged period.

So what’s the problem?

Sources in the FSSAI1 say that the ban has helped people associated with the import of other pulses such as toor dal2. “In the wake of drop in production of popular pulses ensuing imports, traders lobby is benefitted. (Shortage of pulses in India, increases prices, benefitting traders.) They would never want the ban lifted,” said one official on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, research and breeding continue.

  1. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. []
  2. Pigeonpea, or Cajanus cajan. []

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