Indian States Ban Cotton Candy Over Cancer Risk

Concerns over the health impacts of cotton candy have prompted some regions in India to halt its sales. The fluffy, pink confection, enjoyed globally and known locally as buddi-ka-baal for its resemblance to an old woman’s hair, has come under scrutiny. Tamil Nadu recently prohibited its distribution following laboratory findings that confirmed the presence of Rhodamine-B, a chemical linked to cancer, in product tests. This move came shortly after Puducherry, a union territory, also decided to forbid the popular snack. Other states are now evaluating the treat for safety.

Cotton candy is a beloved treat among children for its unique, sticky texture that dissolves in the mouth, commonly found at amusement parks and festive gatherings. However, this seemingly innocent delight has raised alarms among health officials in India. P Satheesh Kumar, a food safety officer in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, warned about the serious health risks associated with the candy, highlighting that it could potentially harm every organ in the body. His team conducted raids on vendors selling the candy along Chennai’s beaches, noting that these were produced by local, unregistered vendors.

The government’s decision to ban the candy followed the detection of Rhodamine-B in it, a fluorescent pink dye used in various industries, which has been proven to elevate cancer risks. The use of this chemical in food products is illegal in Europe and California due to its hazardous effects. Tamil Nadu’s Health Minister, Ma Subramanian, emphasized that any food containing Rhodamine-B would face penalties under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.

Following Tamil Nadu’s lead, Andhra Pradesh has begun testing cotton candy for the carcinogenic substance, and Delhi is considering similar measures to protect public health.