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Watchdogs see red over curries.

CURRY houses are being urged to drop their "the brighter the better" attitude to meals, after a survey revealed that some of them were going overboard on artificial colourings.

The survey, by the Midlands Co-ordinating Group on Trading Standards, found 36 of the 70 samples taken from restaurants and takeaways in the West Midlands "balti belt"' broke legal limits on the amount of food colourings.

The group will now press for changes to the law to include limits on colourings in meat and pilau rice.

Sauces are already covered.

Cllr Eric Linton, responsible for trading standards in Coven- try, said: "I would urge all Coventry restaurants and takeaway owners to take heed of these findings and assure them that Coventry consumers do not need colour appeal to enjoy their curry dishes."

The artificial colours are added because many customers think the brighter a dish, the hotter it will be.

But some additives, such as tartrazine, sunset yellow and ponceau 4R, can produce allergic reactions.

In the worst case uncovered by the survey, meat from a chicken tikka masala contained more than 16 times the recommended limit of sunset yellow.

Experts say all that is needed for an authentic Indian meal are tomato powder, red chillies and turmeric.

Former national curry chef of the year Rois Ali, who runs the Rupali restaurant in Tile Hill Lane, Coventry, said: "Using artificial colourings in food does not enhance the flavour at all but people have come to expect that tandoori chicken or chicken tikka has a bright red colour. Here at Rupali, we try to minimise the colourings we use - traditional Indian spices have a lovely natural colour of their own, anyway."
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Author:Hargrave, Paul
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 27, 1999
Words:279
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