What is Rhodamine B? Why Karnataka banned its use in manchurian, cotton candy? - Hindustan Times
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Explained: What is Rhodamine B? Why Karnataka banned its use in manchurian, cotton candy?

By | Edited by Vaibhav Tiwari
Mar 11, 2024 04:14 PM IST

The Karnataka government on Monday prohibited usage of Rhodamine B artificial colour in 'gobi manchurian' and ‘cotton candy’.

The Karnataka government has issued a ban on the use of artificial colours, specifically Rhodamine B, in 'gobi manchurian' and 'cotton candy' due to their adverse effects on public health, particularly on children.

Prolonged usage of artificial colours in food and its consumption can lead to deadly diseases like cancer, the order said.(Unsplash)
Prolonged usage of artificial colours in food and its consumption can lead to deadly diseases like cancer, the order said.(Unsplash)

What is Rhodamine B?

Rhodamine B (RhB) is a chemical compound commonly employed in synthetic dyes for colouring silk, jute, leather, cotton, and wool, as well as in the cosmetics and plastics industries. Its low cost, however, also makes it a popular choice for food colouring.

How harmful is Rhodamine B?

This compound is frequently used as a food colourant, particularly in items like chilli powder and chilli oil. Despite its widespread use, there have been accumulating reports indicating potential health hazards, including skin and eye irritation, respiratory issues, and debated carcinogenicity.

The agent is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans as per the United States' National Library of Medicine.

ALSO READ- Banned food colour may affect organs, stunt kids’ growth: Study

Why Rhodamine B is banned?

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), no colouring matter should be added to food unless permitted in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011. The permitted synthetic colouring agents are:

• Red - Ponceau 4R, Carmoisine, Erythrosine

• Yellow - Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow FCF

• Blue - Indigo Carmine, Brilliant Blue FCF

• Green - Fast Green FCF

ALSO READ- Selling sub-standard cake leaves baker with burnt fingers

How to detect Rhodamine B contamination in your food?

Detection of Rhodamine B in Chilli Powder

• Take 2 grams of the sample in a test tube.

• Add 5 ml of acetone.

• Observe the colour of the acetone layer.

• The immediate appearance of red colour indicates the presence of Rhodamine B.

Note: Acetone is a highly flammable solvent; keep away from open flame. Store in an appropriate cabinet

Detection of Rhodamine B in sweet potato

• Dip a cotton ball in water or vegetable oil.

• Rub the cotton ball on the outer surface of the sweet potato.

• If the cotton ball remains clean, the sweet potato is safe for consumption.

• If the cotton ball turns reddish or violet, it indicates adulteration with Rhodamine B.

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