Clarifying that gutka is a food product, the health ministry will soon issue instructions to the states against allowing use of tobacco-laced gutka or pan masala.

“It has now been established beyond doubt that gutka is a food product and falls under the Prevention of Food Adultration Law. The Supreme Court ruled in a recent order that gutka be treated as a food item. That being the case, its adulteration is violative of laws. Tobacco, which is an injurious substance, cannot be used in gutka,” Keshav Desiraju, additional secretary, health, said.