Mobile food testing team from State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL), Kohima and food safety officer (FSO), Dimapur, carried out food analysis on loose spices sold in Super Market area here on Wednesday and reportedly found that the items were dyed with cancer-causing synthetic colours.
According to SPHL assistant chemist I Ayangba, non-permitted colours like Rhodamine B, Metanil Yellow and Sudhan dye, which are carcinogenic, and lead salt were found in turmeric, chilli and coriander powders. Due to their hazardous effects on health, these artificial colorants are not permitted for use, he said.
Warning that consumption of such colours could have adverse health effects, especially on pregnant women, Ayangba said Metanil Yellow causes degenerative changes in the linings of stomach, kidney and liver. It also affects ovaries and testes and could be dangerous for reproductive organs, he added.
The SPHL official further claimed that Rhodamine B, which breaks down red blood cells, causes growth retardation and damages the liver and kidney, while Sudan dye is highly toxic to liver.
Meanwhile, the team also detected kesari dal being sold as food item, which is prohibited under Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules.
Ayangba said consumption of kesari dal, which comes in square shape, causes paralysis and can even lead to liver failure. He said the collected samples will be forwarded to directorate of health & family welfare for necessary action.
The tests were carried out by the team inside a mobile laboratory vehicle “Food Safety on Wheels”, which is fitted with equipments to carry out on-the-spot testing of food samples free of cost.
Funded by Government of India and Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, the Food Safety on Wheels will be travelling across the State to check food samples on the spot.
Food testing in all districts
Department of health & family welfare (H&FW) has directed the food testing team, state public health laboratory to conduct food testing activity on the spot, under central sector scheme “Food Safety on Wheels”- Mobile Food Testing Laboratory, in all the districts in a phase wise manner.
In a directive, principal director & addl. food safety commissioner, H&FW, Dr. Meguosielie Kire, has informed all the responsible authorities to cooperate and assist the food testing team under their jurisdiction for proper implementation of the food testing activities in checking adulterants in food items in the interest of public health.
The action plan would be carried out in coordination with the district administration, police, designated officer (CMOs), food safety officers and food business operators, it stated.