Health inspectors in Hanoi detected a store in Nghia Tan Market in Cau Giay District selling chilli powder that had been mixed with a toxic chemical dye called Rhodamine B, a substance very harmful for human health.
Inspectors traced the source to Pham Van Tuyen, living in Van Thai village in Cam Giang District in the northern province of Hai Duong.
Raids of Tuyen’s house revealed 6 large plastic bags filled with 300 kilograms of chilli powder.
Tuyen told inspectors that he had been collecting the chilli powder for months and then had mixed it with Rhodamine B to increase volume and profits during the coming Tet Lunar New Year.
Later search revealed an additional 234 containers with 10 tons of chilli powder in Tuyen’s house.
Rhodamine B, an industrial dye, is a banned food additive in Vietnam as intake of it damages the liver and kidney over a period of time, and may even lead to cancer in some cases.
Nguyen Cong Khan, head of the Department of Food Hygiene and Safety, said on Tuesday that health inspectors will focus on checking foods adulterated with additives that contain toxic chemicals.