Cotton Candy: A Sugary Pink Treat that Causes Concern in India

Is it cancerous to eat cotton candy?

The pink, wispy, sugary-sweet dessert is forbidden in some Indian states because of this belief.

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu instituted the ban last week following the confirmation of the presence of the carcinogen Rhodamine-B in test samples.

Puducherry, a union territory, outlawed the candy earlier this month, and other states have started sampling it.

Cotton candy, known as buddi-ka-baal in India due to its appearance, is a favourite among children worldwide.

It’s a popular treat found in amusement parks, fairs, and other entertainment venues that children enjoy for its sticky, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

However, some Indian officials claim that the candy has a darker side.

P Satheesh Kumar, a food safety officer in Chennai city, Tamil Nadu, warned in an interview with The Indian Express that the impurities found in cotton candy could have serious health consequences, potentially impacting various organs and even leading to cancer.

Last week, his team conducted a crackdown on candy vendors at a beach in the city. According to Mr Kumar, the candy being sold in the city is produced by individual vendors rather than official factories.

Shortly after, the government revealed a prohibition on its sale following lab tests that found Rhodamine-B in the samples. This substance gives a bright pink colour and is commonly used for colouring fabrics, makeup, and printing materials.

Research indicates that the substance may elevate the chances of developing cancer, leading to its prohibition as a food colouring in Europe and California.

Health Minister Ma Subramanian announced the prohibition of cotton candy in Tamil Nadu, stating that the use of Rhodamine-B in food-related activities would be considered a violation of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

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Following Tamil Nadu’s lead, Andhra Pradesh has also begun testing samples of the candy to detect any carcinogens.

Earlier this week, the New India Express newspaper reported that food safety officials in Delhi were also advocating for a ban on cotton candy.

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