Banned artificial colours linked to hyperactivity, asthma and cancer have been discovered in takeaway and restaurant dishes being served in Walsall during product testing.
Seven out of eight chicken tikka or chicken tikka masala dishes tested by Walsall Council’s trading standards team were found to contain one of two banned substances Sunset Yellow(E110)and Ponceau 4R (E124) – a red colouring. Since 2013 they have not been allowed in seasonings and curry pastes.
An eighth dish which was tested and was noticeably less red in colour did not contain either.
Other artificial colours linked with hyperactivity in children were also found during testing but were within approved limits.
Trading standards officers are now working with the businesses surveyed to make them aware of their responsibilities when preparing and selling food. They are also urging all business owners to examine labels to ensure banned colours are not added to food and others are used in acceptable quantities.
Lorraine Boothman, interim trading standards manager, said: “Food labelling regulations do not require takeaway food and restaurant meals to be marked with a list of ingredients so customers are putting their faith in food businesses to use permitted colours and to not exceed set amounts.
“As an alternative to artificial colouring we actively encourage businesses to use natural colours such as tumeric, saffron and paprika.Our officers are happy to give advice to any business to help them comply with any of the legal requirements.
“We have been and will continue to work with businesses throughout the borough to remind them of their responsibilities and ensure they can continue to produce dishes which are appealing to their customers whilst not breaching regulations.”