Harmful 'vermillion powder' added in 'Chatpate' to give color

Published On: September 9, 2016 05:51 PM NPT By: Rudra Pangeni  | @rudrapang

Vermillion powder is cheaper in place of edible food color. Chatpate makers mix the powder in wheat flour and boil with water to make a 'sauce like' liquid and add in Chatpate
KATHMANDU, Sept 5 'Chatpate' makers are found using non-edible color 'vermillion powder' to give it colorful look.

Chatpate makers mix the powder in wheat flour and boil with water to make a 'sauce like' liquid which is added in Chatpate, disclosed Tara Niraula, new Chatpate maker at Maiti Devi.

The liquid color is kept in a bottle and spray in Chatpate before serving.

Niraula however is not using it as suggested by a Chatpate vendor who sells Chatpate in the neighboring area but she denied identifying the vendor.

The powder, used in religious festivals and cosmetics by married women, is toxic and harmful to human health and metals in the powder may cause cancer and also damage nervous system, said food technicians at Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC).

Niraula purchased vermillion powder from the vendor when she sought help from him to collect ingredients for making Chatpate.

Niraula recently sold out her stationery shop in Ghattakulo and switched to a small shop that also sells Chatpate and Panipuri.

She said she also has not used edible acids in Chatpate rather uses a solution made of powder of Lapsi, Bel chand titri among others.

She also came to know that Chatpate vendors use edible citric acid instead of lemon, which costs about Rs 15 per piece but they show customers lemon while serving the same.

Krishna Prasad Rai, senior food research officer at DFTQC, said that using vermillion powder is prohibited and its contents are harmful.

"It can cause cancer and also damage nervous system and may immediately cause stomach related problems," added Rai.

DFTQC Spokesperson Purna Chandra Wasti asked public to inform by dialing 014262430 to report and DFTQC will immediately reach to the cite and take control of the people involved doing so.

"Any person mixing harmful contents foods will face up to 3 years jail terms," added Wasti.

Wasti assumed that vermillion powder may have been used in food in place of more expensive food color in market.

"Its long we have not been reported on the use of vermillion powder," informed Wasti adding that the powder used to be added in sweets few years ago but it is believed is now under control.

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