Warning: Pink cotton candy found loaded with cancer-causing chemicals

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A boy selling cotton candy waits for customers on the streets. The boy, among other similar children, does not go to school and earns around $2 per day selling cotton candy. —Reuters
A boy selling cotton candy waits for customers on the streets. The boy, among other similar children, does not go to school and earns around $2 per day selling cotton candy. —Reuters

Pink cotton candy, a sugary delight cherished by children worldwide, has sparked health concerns in India, BBC reported.

Several Indian states, including Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, have recently imposed bans on the sale of this whimsical treat due to the confirmed presence of a cancer-causing substance, Rhodamine-B.

The southern state of Tamil Nadu took swift action after lab tests unveiled the ominous chemical in samples of cotton candy. P Satheesh Kumar, a food safety officer in Chennai, emphasised the severity, stating that the contaminants "could lead to cancer and affect all organs of the body." 

The candy, locally known as buddi-ka-baal (old woman's hair) due to its appearance, has been a staple in amusement parks and fairs.

Health Minister Ma Subramanian announced the ban, highlighting the punishable nature of using Rhodamine-B in food, underlining the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The chemical, responsible for the candy's vibrant pink hue, is already banned in Europe and California due to its potential cancer risk.

Taking cues from Tamil Nadu, the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh has initiated tests on cotton candy samples to identify potential carcinogens. Reports from Delhi suggest that officials are contemplating a ban as well. The move reflects growing concerns about the safety of this beloved childhood treat, prompting regulatory action across various Indian regions.