Kuthuparamba: Some eateries here have been found using banned artificial colours and dangerous chemicals to add flavour to tea. This came to light after raids by the municipality's health department that was tipped off of possible use of such substances at tea stalls and eateries in and around Kannur town.
Substances such as carmoisine, sunset yellow and tartrazine were found in tea powder samples tested at the Regional Analytical Food Laboratory, Office of the Commissioner of Food Safety, Kozhikode. These substances are disallowed as per food safety standards.
(Carmoisine is a synthetic food dye that lends red colour to food products. Tartrazine is a dye with an orange-yellow colour used in fabrics, foods and cosmetics.)
Low-quality tea and used tea leaves are processed with artificial coluring agents, including coal tar dye, at secret facilities outside the state and reintroduced in Kerala.
When genuine products make 400 cups of tea per kilogram, the adulterated ones can make 800 or 1,000 cups. Their addictive taste makes people want to drink them again and again, said municipal health inspector V P Babu.
Food adulteration invites one-year jail term and fines of up to Rs 3 lakh. Licence cancellation of violators and frequent checks are planned to stop it.
Junior Health Inspectors K Anish, P Babu and M Hanif were part of the raid team.