Five dangerous food additives that are banned in many countries, except India!

Five dangerous food additives that are banned in many countries, except India!

Jul 14, 2016, 14:07 PM IST

Not long ago the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned use of potassium bromate as food additive in wake of a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study flagging their harmful effects on health, including causing cancer. Yet, the buck doesn't stop here, it is said that more than 3000 different chemical additives are being used in food processing, which create havoc on your health. Busy lifestyle and rapid industrialisation have spurred demand for packaged foods, widening the array of proccesed foods that are loaded with artificial additives available in your supermarkets. Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or improve its taste and appearance. Unfortunately many of these enhancers are also known to cause cancer. Here are some food additives that are being used in India, despite banning them in many countries due to side effects .  

Artificial food dyes

Artificial dyes, which are added to foods to enhance their color, can be found in thousands of foods, including breakfast cereals, cakes, sports drinks and even candies. Basically made from chemicals derived from petroleum, food dyes can cause brain cancer and cell damage. Artificial dyes may also have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children. Banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, UK, France these dyes are being used in India.


BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), banned in the UK, Japan and many other European countries, are widely used by the food industry as preservatives. Although assumed to be safe in low doses, they may contribute to carcinogenicity. These preservatives are found in cereal, baked goods, packaging, cosmetics, snack foods, chewing gum, meats, butter, dehydrated potatoes, beer and many more.


As per WHO, arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. And rice has higher levels of inorganic arsenic than other foods. It is banned only in the European Union. While the arsenic content in white basmati rice from California and India is much lower than other types, it has been linked to cancer, skin lesions, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.


Olestra is a 'fake' fat found in foods like chips and french fries. It can have a harmful effect on your health by negating the body's ability to absorb essential vitamins. This fat substitute is banned in the UK and Canada.

Propyl gallate

A common food additive that acts as a preservative can be found in edible fats, oils, baked goods, meat product, chewing gum and ready-to-make soup mixes as well as in cosmetics. Research has shown that this additive may be carcinogenic and also an endocrine disruptor. It is banned in many countries. By: Salome Phelamei