Colour of death

Published: Tuesday 31 March 1998

Hazardous food (Credit: WHO) eating colourful food stuffs stacked on the shelves of road side eateries may pose risk for health, warn scientists. These colours can damage liver, kidney, heart, skin, eye, lungs and bones, according to scientists of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. At present, eight synthetic food colours -- erythrosine, carmoisine, ponceau 4r, indigo carmine, brilliant blue fcf , fast green fcf , tartrzine and sunset yellow fcf are permitted in India.

Synthetic dyes such as auramine, metanil yellow, lead chromate, rohdamine pose serious health hazards as these are mutagenic and potential carcinogens. The use of not permitted colouring matters has increased continuously. Metanil yellow, the commonest non-edible chemical dye widely used in food items like "ladoo" causes in sufficient oxygen supply to skin.

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