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Karnataka Bans Usage of Artificial Colors in Chicken and Fish Kebabs


The Karnataka government has taken a firm stance on food safety by prohibiting the use of artificial coloring agents in all types of kebabs, including vegetarian, chicken, and fish variants. This decision comes after the Food Safety and Standards Department raised concerns about the presence of harmful artificial colors in kebab samples collected across the state.

Karnataka’s Health Minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao announced the ban on kebabs. He also emphasized the potential health risks associated with artificial colors. “Considering the safety of our citizens, the government has banned the usage of artificial colors in kebabs,” Rao stated. He warned food vendors of “serious action” for violating the new regulation, including hefty fines and potential jail time. Violation of the ban could result in imprisonment for a minimum of seven years, up to a life term, along with a hefty fine of ₹10 lakh. Additionally, food outlets found in violation risk having their licenses canceled.

The impetus for the ban stemmed from public complaints and subsequent testing conducted by the Food Safety department. Alarmingly, tests on 39 kebab samples revealed that eight contained unsafe levels of artificial colors, specifically sunset yellow and carmoisine. These colors are categorized as hazardous under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.

Consumer rights activists welcomed the move who have long advocated for stricter regulations on food additives. They believe this ban will promote a safer food environment and encourage the use of natural ingredients in kebabs.  Consumers can now enjoy these popular dishes without concerns about harmful additives3.

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