A spurious chilli powder racket was busted at Gollapudi in Vijayawada on Friday by officials of the Bhavanipuram police, task force, and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The raid was conducted on Sudha Enterprises in Bhavanipuram, where officials found huge quantities of substandard chilli powder, made from crushing the stems.
According to reports, Sudha Enterprises was run by one Grandhi Narayana Rao, who procured the inferior quality chilli powder for Rs 30 per kg, allegedly re-packed it, and sold it for Rs 50 to Rs 60 per kg.
The officials reportedly seized 600 kg of chilli powder in the raid, along with 100 kg of salt and black gram.
“Chilli powder usually is made by grinding chilli and mixing it with certain ingredients. Instead, Narayana was found using cheap quality chilli and chilli stems, procured from Guntur, and was sellingthem under various brand names. He had not obtained FSSAI licence to sell the products in the market,” assistant food controller N Purnachandra Rao was quoted as saying.
In December 2016, a crackdown on adulterated chilli powder by the Commissionerate of Food Safety (CFS) found a total of 3.09 tonnes or 3,000 kg of misleading or falsely-labelled product in a span of a few weeks across the state.
Officials said that it was almost impossible to tell the difference unless the product was clinically tested, as they looked exactly the same. This made it even more dangerous, as it is difficult to identify.
At the time, officials said that there were two main chemicals - red oxide and Rhodamine-B. When Rhodamine-B is mixed with water, it creates a red coloured chemical, which can be mixed with a certain powder, to create a product that looks exactly like chilli powder.
Red Oxide was also added in some cases, officials had said at the time.