Consumption of synthetic food colours during festivals in Hyderabad, India
Rao, Pratima; Bhat, Ramesh V.; Sudershan, R. V. and Prasanna Krishna, T. (2005) Consumption of synthetic food colours during festivals in Hyderabad, India. British Food Journal, 107 (5). pp. 276-284.
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In India, there are various religions and cultures. Several festivals are celebrated through the year, and a variety of specific foods are prepared for each of the festivals. The aim was to study the extent of consumption of colours during festivals. Design/methodology/approach - A household survey was carried out in the urban areas of Hyderabad among individuals in the age groups 1-5 years, 6-18 years and >18 years from three socio-economic groups - high, middle, and low income - from government quarters. The respondents of the study were interviewed using a food frequency questionnaire to elicit information on the intake of colours during festivals. The festivals selected for the study were Sankranthi, Diwali, Holi and Christmas. Findings - The consumption pattern of various foods among all the subjects of the study during the four festivals indicated that a majority of the subjects (44 per cent) consumed sweetmeats. The intake of tartrazine and sunset yellow was observed to be higher during festivals due to the extensive use of these colours in sweetmeats, savouries and beverages that are most commonly available during festivals. The present investigation showed that there has been a shift in the preferences for foods during festivals (i.e. mainly sweetmeats and the type of colours consumed). Originality/value - As there was an excessive consumption of yellow colours like tartrazine and sunset yellow and lesser consumption of red colours like ponceau 4R and carmoisine, the Indian government needs to take into consideration such situations when setting maximum permissible limits.
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