More Threats From Food Additives

The fact that eateries and food stores use excessive amounts of additives and colours in food products is well known. But a city-based nutritionist has drawn attention to a disturbing trend: These additives are increasingly being used in food items produced and sold by homemakers.

Nutritionist Neha Gupta said, “The long-term impact on health is disastrous, but people are not able to understand that. Presently, starch is being used to make paneer thicker, hydrogenated oils and vanaspati in ghee to give it a rich yellow colour. The use of colours like red, green and yellow in biryani, vegetable pulao and other dishes has also seen a rise.”

The usage of colours and additives may have become an accepted practice, but it's dangerous and needs to be curbed. The use of colours and additives to enhance the taste and appearance of food leads to stomach ulcers, pain and also cell mutations, which may lead to cancer.

Mr Raghunath Rao, a senior nutritionist, said, “The commercial use of food additives has seen a major rise in the processed food industry and also in unorganised households that supply foods.”

He said the mechanism is proving insufficient in terms of checking and ensuring that standards are followed. “Stream-lining this is a huge task and will require a lot of work,” he said. In the absence of such a mechanism, it is imperative that buyers read labels carefully.