Almost 10% of candies, gum have harmful artificial colours: Medical Sciences Department
Almost 10 per cent of candies and chewing gum contain exceeding amounts of artificial colours than those permitted by the Public Health Ministry, Department of Medical Sciences acting director-general Dr Supphakit Siriluck said on Tuesday.
“The department has carried out tests on 387 samples of candies and gum sent in by the manufacturers from 2017 to 2019 and found that 30 samples, or 9.8 per cent, have used an exceeding amount of artificial colouring or prohibited artificial colouring,” he said.
Supphakit explained that out of 147 samples of hard candies (which break down when chewed), seven samples, or 5.7 per cent, had erythrosine colours from 2.9 to 18 milligrams per kilogram. Out of 204 samples of soft candies (which do not break down when chewed), 21 samples, or 13.9 per cent, used erythrosine and erythrosine colours from 2.2 to 38.8 milligrams per kilogram. The latter is not allowed for use in candies. Meanwhile, out of 36 samples of gum, two samples, or 6.3 per cent, use quinoline yellow, which is not allowed in such gum.
“The Public Health Ministry has allowed the use of artificial colours in limited amounts as specified in Ministerial Regulations No 389 BE 2561 ,” he pointed out. “These artificial colours can be harmful if consumed in high amounts or if they accumulate in the body over a long time, as they can obstruct the digestive system and cause flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, reduced weight, inflammation of the kidney or liver, as well as cancer at the lymph nodes,” he warned.
“Consumers must check the package before buying candies or gum to see that these items have been registered with the Food and Drug Administration and display all ingredients and additions,” he said.
“Do not buy any of these if the package is damaged, torn or has a hole. Avoid buying candies that have too bright colours. Always store candies in a cold, dry place and away from sunlight and insects,” Supphakit advised.
“The Department of Medical Sciences will continue to conduct tests on food and consumer products and prevent those that could be harmful to consumers from hitting the market shelves,” he added.