Burma Govt Names Food Products Containing Dangerous Dyes

By The Irrawaddy 16 May 2014

RANGOON — Burma’s health body on Thursday announced that nine foodstuffs currently on sale should not be eaten because they contain dyes that are banned from use in food.

The Ministry of Health published the notice in state-run newspapers stating that certain brands of products including mango jam, chili powder and curry powder contain potentially harmful ingredients.

The banned dyes were named as Sudan III, a dye giving a dark red coloring, Orange II, Rhodamine B and Oramine O. The notice said the nine foodstuffs were identified during inspections of public markets and shops inside schools.

The dyes are banned because studies have shown they may cause cancer.

According a 2005 review of the toxicology of food dyes by the European Food Safety Authority, Rhodamine B and Sudan II are both potentially genotoxic and carcinogenic. Conclusive evidence is lacking for Orange II, but genotoxicity cannot be ruled, according to the study.

In the notice, the Ministry of Health warned producers and distributors not to use unauthorized dyes in foods and said noncompliance would put them at risk of prosecution under the 1997 National Food Law.

Below is an English translation of the announcement, listing the product, brand and banned ingredient:

Mango jam – Mee Ein Shin – Sudan III

Mango jam – Style – Sudan III

Rice cracker – Kaung Set Thar – Orange II

Chili powder – Thwe Thwe Aye – Sudan III

Curry powder – Thwe Thwe Aye – Sudan III

Curry powder – Hnin Pearl – Sudan III

Curry powder – Thein Kaba – Rhodamine B

Turmeric powder – Hnin Pearl – Oramine O

Baked fish paste – Amay Htar – Rhodamine B