Beware: FSSAI survey finds synthetic colours, industrial dye in cotton candies

The presence of Rhodamine B prompted several states banning cotton candies with the latest by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry February this year.
A hawker selling cotton candy on a bicycle
A hawker selling cotton candy on a bicycle File Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: Cotton candies, a hit among small children, may put the little champions at the risk of developing multiple diseases, including cancer. An inspection by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has revealed that cotton candy sellers are using industrial dye Rhodamine-B to add synthetic colors to it.

According to officials, the inspection report has been submitted to the health department. The FSSAI carried out the inspection in February where it took nearly 20 samples from each district of the city for examination. All samples were found containing chemical, synthetic colours and high value of Rhodamine-B.

The action came after several states and UTs banned cotton candies due to the Rhodamine B. The latest were Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in February. This development led the health department to start inspection in the city as well.

This newspaper had reported in February that the health department was mulling over a ban on the sale of cotton candy following the reports of its ban in some states. While there is no confirmation on banning the product in the city, an action is likely since the report confirmed the presence of synthetic colors and harmful chemicals in the product, officials added.

The presence of Rhodamine B prompted several states banning cotton candies with the latest by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry February this year. The chemical is linked to development of certain types of cancers. The presence of cancer-causing chemical Rhodamine-B was found in cotton candy in Tamil Nadu and confectioneries in Puducherry. There is a ban on the use of synthetic colors in food items. Only edible colors can be used in food items.

According to doctors, synthetic colors contain heavy metals and dangerous chemicals like glass, mercury, chromium, copper, sodium chloride, copper, which are carcinogenic in nature. Apart from this, there is a risk of allergy, stomach related diseases and intestinal ulcers due to its use. According to data shared on the US government-run National Library of Medicine website, “The use of Rhodamine B in food for a long time leads to liver dysfunction or cancer, and when exposed to large amounts over a short period, it results in acute poisoning.”

Banned in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

The action came after several states and UTs banned cotton candies due to the Rhodamine B. The latest were Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in February. This development led the health department to start inspection in the city as well. This newspaper had reported in February that the health department was mulling over a ban on the sale of cotton candy following the reports of its ban in some states.

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