Banned food colour may affect organs, stunt kids’ growth: Study
Most banned dyes cause lesions in the kidney, spleen and liver and stunt the growth of children. They also have bad effects on the testicles, ovaries and spleen.
The use of adulterated and banned artificial colours in food items increases the incidence of kidney, liver and spleen diseases along with impeding the growth of children, a study has found. The study was conducted by scientists at the Lucknow-based Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), a laboratory of the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR).
To make food items attractive, banned artificial colours are also used during processing. According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), it is mandatory to mention the artificial colour and its quantity on the food label.
“However, the study found adulteration of colours above the standard level of 100 parts per million (ppm) in both urban and rural areas, which is extremely dangerous,” said Kausar Mahmood Ansari, principal scientist, IITR, who led the research team.
“Despite strict standards, various banned colours are being used in food items more in urban food items (38%) than in rural markets (25%),” the study found.
The study comes with Holi round the corner when people often use colours in their food and these colours become largely available at various food stalls across the markets.
According to Ansari, most banned dyes such as Orange-II (Orange), Auramine (Yellow), Rhodamine B (Red), Blue VRS (Blue), Malachite Green (Green) and Sudan-III (Red) cause lesions in the kidney, spleen and liver and stunt the growth of children. They also have bad effects on the testicles, ovaries and spleen. It has also been found that the toxicity of a mixture of non-permitted colours is higher than that of a single colour.
According to the study, FSSAI has permitted eight artificial colours: Suncetylo FCF and Tartrazine for yellow, Panseu-4R, Carmoisine and Erythrosine for red, Brilliant Blue FCF, Indigo Carmine for blue and Fast Green FCF has been permitted for use in food items with different quantities prescribed for different food items.
“The acceptable level is 100 ppm in fresh food or 200 ppm in microgram/gram colour canned food due to technical requirements,” Ansari said.