Are We Still Using Food Additives That Are Banned Across The World? How Synthetic Colors Affect Our Organs?

Cotton Candy was banned in Puducherry following which it was banned in Tamil Nadu as it includes hazardous ingredient, rhodamine B.

As part of a xenobiotic substance, rhodamine B is metabolized by cytochrome P450 in the body to create free radicals, which alter Superoxidase Dismutase activity and cause oxidative stress, damage, an increase in cell death, and brain stem dysfunction. Oxidative stress can cause damage and death of specialized cells in the cerebellum and brainstem tissue. The intake of Rhodamine B in food for a long time leads to liver dysfunction or cancer, and when given in large amounts over a short period, it results in acute poisoning.

Food additives and its impact

Food additives are needed for the purpose of maintaining or improving the keeping quality, texture, consistency, appearance. Food colours are of two types, classified as artificial and natural. Natural colours are considered better but they appear less vibrant when compared to artificial colours. Beetroot, raspberries, and red cabbages contain anthocyanins, which are the source of the colors red, blue, and violet. All leaves and stems contain chlorophylls, which are responsible for the green color.

Carotenoids, which are present in tomatoes, carrots, and apricots, are what provide yellow, orange, and red hues.
Chemical reactions are used in industry to create artificial colors. Tartracine, sunset yellow, amaranth, allura red, quinoline yellow, brilliant blue, and indigo carmine are the most often used artificial food coloring compounds. They must meet certain requirements in order to be utilized as food additives. synthetic colors can be separated into two groups: Permitted and non-permitted.

Scientists from the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory, the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), in Lucknow, performed a study. According to the study, the use of contaminated and banned artificial coloring in food products stunts children’s growth and increases the possibility of kidney, liver, and spleen illnesses. Also, testicles, ovaries, and spleen are adversely affected by the majority of prohibited dyes, including Orange-II (Orange), Auramine (Yellow), Rhodamine B (Red), Blue VRS (Blue), Malachite Green (Green), and Sudan-III (Red). 4-Aminobiphenyl, Naphthylamine and benzidine are known carcinogens; therefore, there is no scientific evidence that will support a safe tolerance for these colors in drugs or cosmetics. Additionally, it has been discovered that a combination of prohibited colors is more harmful than a single color.

The following colors—beetroot concentrates, annatto, beta-carotene, cochineal extract, grape extract, paprika, oleoresin, turmeric oleoresin, luetin, phycocyanin, and saffron—isolated from natural sources are allowed in India under Rule 26 of The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and The Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 & 1999.Determination of Synthetic food colours in food products can be done by paper chromatography.

The study states that the FSSAI has approved the use of eight artificial colors in food items, with varying amounts recommended for various food items. These colors are Suncetylo FCF and Tartrazine for yellow, Panseu-4R, Carmoisine and Erythrosine for red, Brilliant Blue FCF, Indigo Carmine for blue, and Fast Green FCF. The allowed level of the additives  is 100 ppm in fresh food or 200 ppm in microgram/gram colour canned food.

How can you determine whether your leafy greens are adulterated?

The well-known carcinogen malachite green is still used in the Indian food sector, according to food experts. It is commonly used to add a vibrant green color to spinach, ladyfinger, cucumber, peas, and chilies. An organic substance called malachite green is frequently used as an antibacterial in aquaculture as well as for dying purposes.

The FSSAI video states that all you have to do is take a piece of cotton and soak it in liquid paraffin. Dab or rub a tiny area of the lady finger’s outer green surface. Should the cotton become green, it indicates that the greens are not fit for human eating; otherwise, it indicates that the greens are pure.

Recommended level(max.) can be referred here.

Banned food additives in countries around the world:

It is undeniable that many food additives banned globally are still being used in India even today.

– Hydrogenated fats increase the bad cholesterol called LDL and significantly increase the risk of heart attack, cancer, diabetes and obesity. So beware of food products containing ingredients referred to as ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘shortening and margarine’.

– Poultry feeds containing arsenic make chickens grow faster and give more color to their meat. It is also said by researchers that basmati rice is adulterated with arsenic.

– The American Chemical Society states that certain synthetic dyes such as Sunset Yellow, Brilliant Blue, Citrus Red, Amaranth and Indigo Carmine can cause problems such as hyperactivity, ADD and ADHD in children.

– Bromine is a chemical used to make carpets and yoga mats flame retardant. Such brominated vegetable oils (BVO) are used as food additives in soft drinks.

– Potassium bromate, widely used in bread products id banned in Europe, Canada and China. Ensure to check that potassium bromate is not listed as an ingredient in the bread pack when you buy it next time.

– Artificial sweeteners such as Acesulfame-K and Aspartame, which are known to cause cancer, are widely used in Indian sweets. They destroy the beneficial bacteria in the gut and cause dehydration, bloating and metabolic changes.

– Chips containing Olestra or Olean are banned in the UK and Canada.

– BHA and BHT are preservatives mixed with waxin. They are widely used in mashed instant potato dishes, butter, chips, cereals, preserved meats, chewing gum and other foods.

Apart from these, it is important to avoid foods that contain a lot of food colour additives such as cotton candy, sweets, tandoori chicken, and coloured fryums.



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