The fluffy and pink sugary treat of sweet strands that are popular amongst children, famously uses food colouring to get a pink or yellow hue. However, laboratory tests have indicated the presence of a toxic chemical which makes the cotton candy available in Puducherry, unfit for consumption.
The food safety department in Puducherry conducted a series of tests on the cotton candy that is sold by local vendors, to find the presence of Rhodamine-B in the colour used to make the confection. In an order issued by the Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, it was indicated that the cotton candy failed the checks conducted, resulting in finding the presence of this harmful substance that is typically used in textile dyeing, printing and paints. That said, the statement also mentions that any of the vendors that manage to get a quality check certificate from the department, will be allowed to sell the sweetmeat.
Issuing a warning of seizure to shopkeepers and sellers who might flout the rules by continuing to sell them, Soundararajan also stated that officials had been appointed to inspect shops. Elaborating further on this, the video statement also urged citizens to be mindful so as to avoid feeding children foods that were laced with chemical dyes. The chemical in question – when mixed with food – has been known to affect the body with negative side-effects such as liver dysfunction or cancer, according to studies conducted by the National Institute of Health.
Known for its bright pink colour, the water-soluble fluorescent colour can also cause tissue damage and oxidative stress, if consumed over a period of time. On coming in contact with the human body, the chemical can also cause nausea, hormonal imbalance, cardiovascular diseases, decreased immunity and cognitive dysfunctions. While certain reports also suggest that the cotton candy retailed in Chennai have also been pulled up for traces, there have been no confirmed conclusions on it so far. The state government has also issues warnings against consuming food items like bhajjis, fried fish and spring potatoes, where food dyes are used amply.