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  5. Karnataka Health Department bans use of artificial food colouring in kebabs; imposes hefty fine of 10 lakhs!

Karnataka Health Department bans use of artificial food colouring in kebabs; imposes hefty fine of 10 lakhs!

Karnataka Health Department bans use of artificial food colouring in kebabs; imposes hefty fine of 10 lakhs!
If you’re a Bengaluru resident, we’re almost certain that you must be coming across vendors frying and selling hot chicken kebabs by the sides of the road on the regular. With their rather bright red colours, those things are unmissable, after all. But if you’ve been fighting temptation because of how unhealthy they could be, we have some good news for you.

Making kebabs the teensiest bit healthier, the Karnataka government is putting a ban on artificial colours in your favourite kebabs, be they vegetarian, chicken, or fish. This move comes after a series of actions by the Karnataka Health Department to ensure food safety and protect public health.

Reports of poor kebab quality due to artificial colouring prompted the department to take action. In light of these concerns about kebab safety, the government tested 39 samples from across Karnataka and 8 variants of kebabs were found to have harmful artificial colours. The presence of sunset yellow and carmoisine colours, in particular, were deemed unsafe for consumption.

This isn't the first time the Karnataka Health Department has cracked down on harmful food additives. Following Tamil Nadu and Goa, Karnataka joined the fight for safe treats earlier this year when it flagged the use of artificial colours in cotton candy and gobi manchurian.

The survey, conducted between February 12 and an unspecified date, revealed the presence of concerning chemicals in 15 out of 25 cotton candy samples and 107 out of 171 gobi manchurian samples. They found Rhodamine-b, a suspected carcinogen which already has a nationwide ban. This ban extends to sunset yellow and carmoisine in cotton candy, and tartrazine (when not used within approved limits) in gobi manchurian.

If any vendors are found flouting these bans, the Food Safety and Standards Act enforces strict penalties: licence cancellation, hefty fines (up to ₹10 lakh), and even jail terms (from 7 years to life imprisonment) for using banned substances.

Looking ahead, the government plans to raise awareness among food vendors about safe colouring alternatives, empower consumers and conduct surprise checks to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

The success of this initiative might lead to similar scrutiny of other popular street foods, like kebabs, which often use colouring agents. This could pave the way for a future where vibrant colours on our plates come courtesy of nature, not potentially harmful chemicals.

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