Cancer-causing substance found in cotton candy at Telangana fair

Known as peechu mithai in Telangana, the candy was banned in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry earlier this month

Hyderabad: The Telangana State Food Laboratory tested a sample of cotton candy being sold at the Medaram Jatra site in Mulugu district and found traces of Rhodamine-B, a banned and cancer-causing substance.

The Medaram Jathara attracts devotees from across the country, especially from Odisha, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. The tribal fair, kicked off in Telangana’s Mulugu district as scores of thousands of devotees paid obeisance to tribal deities. The four-day event is underway with the customary arrival of Sarakka’s image from Kannepally village which was placed on a platform in Medaram.

Locally known as peechu mithai in Telangana, the candy popular among children and those with a sweet tooth, was tested in the state after the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments recently banned it.

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However, cotton candy is not commonly found in Telangana as it is in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Why RhB is cause of concern

Rhodamine-B, cancerous for human consumption, is mainly used in textile industries, inks, and various cosmetics.

Rhodomine-B is a textile dye that is not approved for use in food colouring. While it is green in its powdered form, when dissolved it turns into a pink solution.

Consuming cotton candy containing Rhodomine-B can lead to immediate health effects such as fullness of the stomach, itching, and breathing problems. Long-term consumption can result in kidney function impairment, irreversible damage to the liver, non-healing ulcers in the intestine that can turn cancerous, and neurotoxicity.

The ban was enforced under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which considers the use of Rhodomine-B in manufacturing, packaging, import, and sale of food articles as a punishable offence.

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