Ginger, a commonly used ingredient in cooking across India, is reportedly being subjected to bleaching agents like calcium hypochlorite and sulphur in some parts of the country, in order to make the product look attractive and command better prices.

Based on complaints received from consumers, officers of the State Public Health Institute, Bangalore, carried out inspections at processing units at Ayanur and Ripponpet in Karnataka’s Shimoga district, and found that the whole root was being treated with chemicals to remove the dark spots and give it an attractive yellowish tint.

The officials seized sulphur (to the extent of 100 kg) and other bleaching agents from the units, and samples of the processed ginger have been sent for laboratory tests, according to C R Srinivasa Gowda, joint director of the Institute.

Gowda said that, depending on the results of the tests, a state-wide inspection drive would be conducted to wipe out the use of chemicals to process ginger. Many people in Shimoga District have reported breathing difficulties and allergies. Water bodies in the area have reportedly been contaminated by sulphur, worsening the plight of residents in the vicinity of these water bodies. The situation prompted them to lodge complaints with the Public Health Institute.


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