Did you know that the food you are consuming can possibly have activated charcoal? While it has become a trend to use activated charcoal as an additive ingredient, it is not permitted to be used as a food additive. The use has been so much that it urged the Food Safety Department to step in and take some action. As a result, the department has asked all food establishments in Chennai not use this particular ingredient in the food items, the Hindu reported. According to the report, A. Ramakrishnan who is a designated officer at Tamil Nadu Food Safety Department in Chennai has said that the department has written to all food establishments that activated charcoal will not be used in proprietary food including idli, dosa, pongal and sambar.
The report said that the activated charcoal is a "universal antidote" for a plant or pesticide poisoning is and used by doctors for treatment. Citing a senior doctor from Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, the report added that the powdered charcoal is usually mixed with oxygen for activation that helps to increase absorbing capacity. This is given to patients after a stomach wash to absorb any kind of leftover poison. It is also used to treat drug overdoses.
Activated charcoal, also has ill-effects also. If anyone suffering from any medical condition that involves the gastrointestinal tract should not take consume activated charcoal as it would worsen the symptoms, the report said. Other than this, it also has a possibility of causing vomiting, stomach pain, dehydration and black stool. The report also highlighted that there is no study that proves that the consumption of activated charcoal is completely safe.
Surprisingly, activated charcoal is also used as a detox drink and is added in black burgers, waffles, dosa and black pizza for colour. However, the US Food and Drug Administration has indicated that activated charcoal is not considered a food additive, it is not an approved colour additive or a valid dietary ingredient.