Cases of contamination with the banned dye Sudan 1 continue to be found in India, but officials are relatively relaxed, according to the Mumbai based website.

When the United Kingdom detected Sudan I in Indian chilli powder, it made for front-page news, but back home, nobody seems too perturbed, the site said in a report published on Friday.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) public analysts and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), India, say they have been detecting the cancer-causing colorant in our chilli powder for the past 25 years now.

Yet even as the cases drag on in courts, manufacturers continue selling chilli powder, with or without a dash of Sudan I.

“Sudan is definitely not a new phenomenon in India. But being a tolerant nation, we do not raise our hackles over these issues,” confirms FDA Commissioner A Ramakrishna, adding, “There are more than 20 cases in Mumbai itself.”

The food inspection rules say that only 8 colours are allowed in certain food items including confectionary, sweets, biscuits and ice cream. Sudan I does not feature in them.

Food inspectors from both the BMC and the FDA get samples of food products to the BMC food-testing laboratory.

P C Dalvi, BMC public analyst says, “We check for certain parameters including Sudan I. If found, we file a case.”

These cases stretch for 10 years sometimes, but in the meantime, the law does not prevent these manufacturers from selling their product.

“When the food inspector starts prosecution, he seizes the available lot of products. But after that, the manufacturer is free to continue his business,” said Dalvi.