MBS lifts ban on tartrazine

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By Florence Mwale

The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has lifted the ban it imposed on the use of Tartrazine as a food additive in some beverages.

Tartrazine is a synthetic lemon-yellow dye which is primarily used as a food colouring.

In June last year, the MBS issued an order to manufacturers, importers and distributors to withdraw from the market all beverages that contained the colourant.

This led to the removal of some squashes, cordials and other beverages from the market.

The bureau claimed that it had made the decision following standardisation standards that had been set up internationally.

Apart from that, it had also been reported that long term ingestion of beverages containing Tartrazine was a health hazard. Dangerous 

In a statement however, MBS Director General Symon Mandala discloses that Tartrazine does not pose any significant health hazard. 

But nonetheless the colourant may cause allergic reactions among people that are asthmatic and aspirin intolerant.

According to Mandala, the Bureau received a request from affected stakeholders who asked them to reconsider the decision of banning the additive as it is still used in some countries.

Following this, MBS convened a technical committee last month where the matter was discussed and a recommendation was made to adopt the provision to permit the use of Tartrazine in some products.

The Committee further agreed that, manufacturers should clearly indicate on their packaging label if a beverage contains the colourant.

Adding on that, manufacturers will also be required to follow stipulated limits on the use of the substance as set up by the MBS.

Mandala assures the public that they will continue to monitor the compliance of all relevant products on the market to ensure that manufacturers are following applicable mandatory Malawi Standards.



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