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Health fears over Chicken Tikka Masala

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  • Health fears over Chicken Tikka Masala

    Tue 23 March, 2004 16:51
    By Matthew Jones

    LONDON (Reuters) - One of the country's favourite foods could be slowly poisoning diners who love its distinctive red hue and spicy, creamy taste.

    An investigation on Tuesday found 57 percent of Chicken Tikka Masala dishes tested in Surrey had illegal and potentially harmful levels of chemicals used to give the curry its trademark colour.

    "A lot of people prefer bright red food and restaurants react to that," Yvonne Rees, Surrey's Assistant County Trading Standards Officer told Reuters.

    "When people are offered curries they often pick the one with the brightest colour."

    Rees said the chemicals that give the dish its colour are known to cause health problems like hyperactivity in children, allergies and asthma if consumed in excessive quantities.

    "The reason why there are limits on how much additive a dish can have is for health reasons," she added.

    Chicken Tikka Masala has iconic status in popular culture, vying with fish and chips in the nation's affections, but it bears little relation to a native Indian dish.

    The subject of a musical, it has inspired a range of potato crisps and in 2001 was even praised by a cabinet minister. Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the dish epitomised Britons' ability to absorb and adapt external influences.

    Unfortunately that very desire to adapt is causing problems.

    Hajra Makda, editor of Masala magazine which serves the Indian restaurant trade, said there have been earlier problems with additives in Indian cuisine and that consumers and restaurants need to be told about colour dangers.

    "It is good it is out in the open," she said.

    "I don't think the over-colouring is deliberate. The problem is that it is too easy to add a couple more drops (of colour)."

    James Martin, a chef who regularly appears on television cookery programmes, said the dish is the victim of diners' preferences.

    "The British palate demands a Chicken Tikka Masala to be this very, very vivid red colour," he told Sky Television.

    "A lot of the general public will send the dish back (to the kitchen) if it is not."

    "Chicken Tikka Masala should be a light orangey colour."
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  • #2
    Curry Dye Danger of Ultra Pink Chicken Tikka
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    • #3
      Curry colour causes concern in Britain


      Food colourings linked to hyperactivity, asthma and cancer have been detected in one of Britain's favourite dishes.

      Tests by trading standards officers in Surrey suggest 57 per cent of Indian restaurants use "illegal and potentially dangerous" levels of dyes to give chicken tikka masala sauce its distinctive orange-red hue. Out of 102 curry houses sampled, only 44 were using the colourings within legal limits.

      Tartrazine (E102) is thought to cause blurred vision and purple skin patches and is dangerous for asthmatics and anyone allergic to aspirin. Sunset Yellow (E110) is linked to chromosome damage, kidney tumours, abdominal pain, hives, nausea and vomiting. Ponceau 4R (E124) is believed to cause cancer in animals.

      A top curry chef said many restaurants used the colourings because customers expected the dish to be strongly coloured.
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      • #4
        Oddly enough, the same day that news came out, my wife made me a Chicken Tikka Masala!



        • #5
          Originally posted by Sultan
          Oddly enough, the same day that news came out, my wife made me a Chicken Tikka Masala!

          You are not aware of the consequences that would result (if you were granted what you desire) because what you seek might be to your detriment. (O soul) be conscious that your Master is more aware about your well-being than you are.

          ~Ibn Al-Jawzee


          • #6
            Yeah, but it wasn't bright red at least!

            It was a strange yellow colour.


            • #7
              prefer a Jalfrezi or a Madras to be honest, mmmmmm.. :D
              My Lord, my trust in all Your purposes is strong, That trust is now my shield; I'm safe, and undeceived.- Ali bin Husayn al-Habshi

              Real forsaking is forgetting the thing forsaken.- Shaykh al-Shadhili

              Live as long as you wish, you shall die. Love whatever you wish, you shall be separated from it. Do whatever you wish, you shall be rewarded for it. - Jibreel (as)

              ياَ أَبَا اَلزَّهْرَاء وَلَّذِي صَانَكْ- لاَتُخَيِّبْنَا يَا سِيْدِي نَحْنُ ضِيْفَانَكْ
              O father of Zahra, for the sake of the One who protected you,
              Please do not leave us disappointed, O master, we are your guests. - Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi (rh)

              أَنتَ رَبّي وَ عِلْمُكَ حَسْبِيْ. فَنِعْمَ الرَّبُّ رَبِّي وَ نِعْمَ الحَسْبُ حَسْبِيْ.ـ حِزْبُ البَحْر



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