Mohali: Beware! Those mouth-watering Diwali sweets you are about to savour could be adulterated. A health team on Wednesday raided factories manufacturing sweets ahead of the festival of lights and found chemicals or artificial colours being used to give a rich golden colour to 'ladoos'. The team also found cockroaches roaming in dough being prepared to bake items.
Synthetic chemical colour is a non-food grade item, said sub-divisional magistrate R P Singh, who led the team along with district health officer Rajbir Singh Kang and food safety officer Sangeeta. Baked cake was seen covered with scrap newspaper instead of food grade butter paper.
Mohali additional deputy commissioner (DC) Charandev Singh Mann said, "Following the orders of the DC, the team has been asked to conduct surprise checks at sweets shops and units across Mohali."
The team raided three units — two in Sector 82 and one in Industrial Area, Phase IX.
The team found that synthetic chemical colours were suspected to have been used in 'ladoos'. This was found at Goyal Sweets in Sector 82. The teams sealed the samples and colours being used.
R P Singh said, "All these are non-edible industrial colours being used in ladoos. We also observed that sweets were being prepared under unhygienic conditions and cleanliness was not proper. Workers were not wearing gloves although they had covered their heads. In one of the factories, curd kept in utensils was covered with a filthy jute bag cloth and no fly traps were installed."
Kang said, "We also found cockroaches roaming in the dough prepared for baking biscuits, cakes and patties. We have shot videos and taken samples. All such samples will be sent for testing. Further action will be taken once the reports are received." Till then, Kang said, notices have been issued to these manufacturers.
The other unit which was raided was Uttam Sweets in Industrial Area, Phase IX, having its outlets in sectors 34 and 46, Chandigarh. The owner, Balwinder Singh, was also present on the premises during the raid. He said he was ignorant of the fact of not using newspaper for baking cakes and assured to correct the preparation ways.
The more attractive sweet looks, more are the chances of its being prepared with adulterated material. Sources said local traders and sweet makers could use substandard products to make huge profit margins, leaving consumers vulnerable to ailments like vomiting, food poisoning, stomach aches and infections
Low level dyes Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40 contain compounds, including Benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl. They are used in the preparation of ladoos and jalebis. Research has linked them with cancer
Food dyes cause allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness
Dyes may contain cancer-causing contaminants
'Dry fruits of low quality'
Health officer Rajbir Kang said industrial colours are used primarily to make sweets look attractive with bright colours. They are toxic and cause internal damage. He also added that dry fruits being used in such factories are not of good quality. "Almonds and pista used to garnish such sweets are of low quality. We found maggots in many such dry fruits during our raids," said Kang.
(Artificial colours generally used in the preparation of sweets)
Golden yellow | Ladoos