Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned use of potassium bromate as food additive. But still there are more than 300 chemicals used in food industries which are not good for your health. Here are some food additives that are being used in India, despite banning them in many countries due to side effects.
1. Artificial food dyes: Colour play important role in the taste and perception of food along with flavour and texture. If food does not look attractive then consumers will probably reject it. But Maximum Indian foods like ice-creams, flavoured milk, candy etc. contain toxic industrial dyes. Synthetic colours have maximum limits this is usually 100 parts per million of the final food or beverage for consumption. Most commonly used illegal colour in India are rhodamine B, orange II, metanil yellow, malachite green, quinoline yellow and auramine.
2. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and the related compound butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are phenolic compounds that are commonly used to preserve fats and oils. They are added to food, cosmetics, and packing of products that contain fats to maintain nutrient levels, color, flavor, and odor. Although assumed to be safe in low doses, they may contribute to carcinogenicity at high doses.
3. Arsenic: Arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. People are exposed to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic through drinking contaminated water, using contaminated water in food preparation and irrigation of food crops, industrial processes, eating contaminated food and smoking tobacco. Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic, can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects. Rice and fish is mainly contaminated with Arsenic in India.
4. Sodium nitrate: Sodium nitrate is a kind of salt that has long been used to preserve foods. It is added to hot dogs, bacon and other cured meats to help preserve them. Nitrates is the link to an increased risk of cancer in both children and adults. Vegetables with high levels of sodium nitrate include spinach, radishes, lettuce, celery, carrots, cabbage, and beets.
5. Olestra flavor enhancer: Olestra is a fat-free and calorie-free chemical used to bring out flavoring in fries, chips, frozen yogurt and all kinds of diet foods. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K binds with olestra, makes you much more prone to cancer.