Karnataka Acts on Food Safety, Bans Artificial Colors in Popular Dishes like Gobi Manchurian and Cotton Candy

May 24, 2024
1 min read
Gobi Manchurian is a snack often served in street food stalls.( Credit: Olivesil, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED )
Gobi Manchurian is a snack often served in street food stalls.( Credit: Olivesil, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED )

The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Dinesh Gundurao, has announced a ban on red cotton candies that use dangerous chemicals that result in artificial colors. Similarly, vigilance will be maintained on the preparation of Gobi Manchurian.

Speaking at a press conference at Vikasasoudha today, he noted that the quality of Gobi Manchurian and cotton candies sold throughout the state has degraded due to the addition of artificial colors, adversely affecting public health. Samples of cotton candies and Gobi Manchurian have been collected across the state for examination.

The chemicals Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow, Carmoisine, and Rhodamine-B have been found in food items. Rhodamine-B is banned from use in any food items as it is considered a dangerous food substance. However, Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow, and Carmoisine may be used in specified amounts only in certain packaged food items until further notice.

The Food Safety and Quality Department has inspected and examined 171 samples of Gobi Manchurian statewide, where 107 samples were found to use unsafe artificial colors. 64 samples were found safe without artificial colors. When 25 samples of cotton candy were collected, 15 of them were proven to use unsafe Rhodamine-B, he explained.

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The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 provides for imprisonment from 7 years to life. The Food Safety Department has issued a notification, effective immediately, banning cotton candies that use dangerous chemicals. There is no ban on the sale or use of color-free candies.

Continuous operations will be conducted to detect the use of dangerous artificial colors in Gobi Manchurian. A team of officials has already taken measures for this. Cases will be filed in court against those who violate the food safety rules.

Not only street vendors but also restaurants and star hotels will be inspected and samples collected. Attention will also be given to the safety of cooking oils used in cooking. Some hotels will be monitored for reusing cooking oil, he informed. Senior officials from the Department of Health and Family Welfare were present.

Karnataka’s move came a month after Goa. Last month, the Mapusa Municipal Council banned Gobi Manchurian in the area, becoming one of the many civic bodies in Goa to take such a step against one of the most popular food items in India. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry took action against cotton candy last month, citing the presence of the carcinogenic chemical Rhodamine-B in samples sent for testing.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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