Friday, December 12, 2014

Food Coloring In Murukku! Really!!

Nothing has bothered me in recent days as this one has. Murukku as a snack is benign as they come. So while I have the tendency to scan the ingredients list in most other snacks like cookies and chips and other junk food I have never given even a cursory glance at ingredients on any Indian snack especially something like Murukku.

What is the worst that a murukku can have? It usually has rice flour, chick pea flour and some spices like red chilies, sesame/cumin seeds and salt. So I pick a packet of bright orange colored 'Madras spicy murukku' as it was called with visions of some extra spicy muruikku.

I open the packet and take a bite into one of them and it was the worst tasting murukku I had in a long time. Of all the different varieties I had to pick this one. I turn to the back to check the ingredients and that in itself was a revelation. Rice Powder - not rice flour?. Chick pea flour and Bengal Gram Flour - I thought both were same and also wheat flour. No wonder the murukku tasted like glue paste. Unfortunately if the murukku had tasted fine I would not have even bothered to look at the ingredients list. The next action I took is to dump the whole thing in the trash.

To add insult to injury the thing that bothered me most was the FD&C Red No.40 and FD&C Yellow No.5. My blind trust of Indian snacks or just wanting to trust it perhaps?. I deserve this. What makes Indian food manufacturers any different from the others? Their greed for profits is perhaps equivalent to others. Nobody is in the food business out of charity or benevolence. So it is our duty as consumers to check out what we put in out mouths.

The reason I am outraged is there is absolutely no reason to add food coloring to murukku is there? Is Red Food Coloring Dangerous?? Read and decide for yourself.

As for me I do not want petroleum based dyes in my food. Yes it is approved by the FDA and is perhaps used in all of the foods that we come in contact with. But I take severe exception to the fact that is included in murukku or any Indian snack for that matter. The red chili powder is enough to give it the color it deserves.

A food like Falooda or Rose milk or a quite few of the bright colored barfis all have food coloring and we know it.

Who distributes this fantastic food? A company called Babco Foods! The funny thing is Madras Spicy Murukku is a Kerala Product!!

What about Palm Oil?
One other ingredient that should also bother us more than the food coloring is the refined Palm oil. In a lot of Indians early onset of heart disease is linked to Palm Oil. Palm oil is cheaper than other oil so lots of people use this oil. While most plant based oils are better than animal fat but palm oil is an exception. Palm Oil Health Hazards.

The unfortunate thing is no snack that you see in the Indian store be it biscuits, cookies, spicy snacks will be free of Palm Oil. So the onus is to avoid them altogether or limit the consumption of these things. Better yet make them at home.

How about you? You ask?
Well I buy the savory snacks like as mentioned above murukku, mixtures and such. As for cookies and biscuits I am happy with the American kind usually there is no palm oil.

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  1. It's really scary to read abt such things. Why is there a need for food colour in murukku! We really have to be so careful when buying..:(

  2. I have bought this same murukku last week and noticed the ingredients after coming home and thought the same about the food colour. After reading your post felt, am not alone.

  3. I'm guilty of loving each and every Indian snack made with palmolein oil. I'm just now finishing up a bag of banana chips I'm sure were drenched in it, and my beloved fafda (when packaged) is loaded too. I've tried making fafda at home and while they weren't bad, they weren't *great*. I suppose like anything, in moderation it's ok? :)


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