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Illegal colors found in traditional Asian sweets in the UK

By Oliver Nieburg+

18-Feb-2014

Fluorescent pink and yellow colors were found in tradional Asian sweets in West Yorkshire
Fluorescent pink and yellow colors were found in tradional Asian sweets in West Yorkshire

Potentially carcinogenic dyes Rhodamine-B and Auramine have been discovered in traditional Asia sweets in the UK.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards has issued a warning to consumers and businesses after the brightly colored fluorescent pink and yellow colors were found in sweets in West Yorkshire.

Not from a single supplier

The agency said in a statement: “Current investigations appear to indicate that the products containing this ingredient are not coming from a single supplier and subsequently not all sources have been identified.”

Rhodamine B, a green powder that turns fluorescent pink when added to water, is commonly used to test for leaks in drains by the sewage industry. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has identified the color as potentially genotoxic and carcinogenic.

Auaramine is also considered potentially carcinogenic and is often used to stain laboratory slides. The dye appears a yellow/orange in both liquid and powder forms.

Glows under UV light

West Yorkshire Trading Standards said the illegal dyes would fluoresce under UV light, which could help concerned companies identify contamination.

“We would urge business to contact their suppliers to confirm if these ingredients are present in their products. If it is found to be an ingredient then these products should be removed from sale immediately,” it said.

The Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes and Extraction Solvents (England) Regulations 2013 make it a criminal offence to produce or supply products containing these non-permitted dyes.

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