Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

Food Colorants and Chemical Additives Under Crackdown in Karnataka


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Permitted artificial colors; Rhodamine B.

Why in the News?

Karnataka’s Food Safety Department ordered action after 40 kebab samples showed unsafe artificial colours, extending the crackdown to Panipuri, Cotton candy, and Gobi Manchurian.

Artificial Colours in the Controversy 

  • Some artificial colours under scrutiny include:
  1. Sunset Yellow (Yellow 6, E110): Approved in the US but requires a warning label in the EU.
  2. Carmoisine (Red No. 10, E122): A deep red dye often used in food.
  3. Rhodamine B: A banned textile dye sometimes illegally used in food.
  • Different countries have varying regulations for these dyes. For example, tartrazine (E102 in the EU, Yellow 5 in the US) is permitted but only in limited quantities. 


Legal Action against FBOs

  • To take legal action, the department collects a survey sample from an FBO and, if found unsafe, collects four more legal samples for further testing at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).
  • If CFTRI deems the samples unfit for consumption, the FBO is booked under the Food Safety Act and tried at a court of Judicial Magistrate of First Class (JMFC). Penalties can include a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for 7 years.

Role of FSSAI in Food Safety and Colorants Regulation

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) plays a crucial role in regulating and ensuring food safety across the country under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006

Ingredients legally banned in India by the FSSAI and various states initiatives:

Parameters Details
Ingredients Banned in India
  • Rhodamine B: A textile dye sometimes illegally used as a food colorant.
  • Potassium Bromate: A flour treatment agent linked to cancer.
  • Oxytocin: A hormone used unethically in the dairy industry to increase milk production.
  • Calcium Carbide: Used for ripening fruits, which is hazardous to health.
  • Formalin: Used in fish preservation, which is carcinogenic.
  • Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO): Used in soft drinks, which is linked to various health issues.
State Initiatives for Food Safety
  • Karnataka: Crackdown on use of unsafe food colorants in kebabs, pani puri, cotton candy, and gobi manchurian.
  • Maharashtra: Rigorous checks on milk adulteration and stringent actions against offenders.
  • Kerala: Implementation of ‘Safe Food’ campaign focusing on reducing pesticide use in vegetables.
  • Tamil Nadu: Regular inspections of street food vendors and training programs on food safety.
  • Delhi: Special drives to monitor and control the use of banned substances in sweets during festive seasons.

State Food Safety Index (SFSI) by FSSAI sheds light on the performance of Indian states in ensuring food safety.



[2021] Elaborate the policy taken by the Government of India to meet the challenges of the food processing sector.

[2018] Consider the following statements: 

  1. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 replaced the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
  2. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is under the charge of Director General of Health Services in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2


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