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Tamil Nadu bans cotton candy over cancer risk

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Can cotton candy give you cancer?

Some Indian states think so and have banned the sale of the pink, wispy, sugary-sweet treat.

Last week, the southern state of Tamil Nadu implemented the ban after lab tests confirmed the presence of a cancer-causing substance, Rhodamine-B, in samples sent for testing.

Earlier this month, the union territory of Puducherry banned the sweet treat while other states have begun testing samples of it.

Cotton candy, also called buddi-ka-baal (old woman’s hair) in India because of its appearance, is popular with children the world over.

It’s a fixture in amusement parks, fairs and other places of entertainment frequented by children, who like it because of its sticky, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

But some Indian officials say that the candy is more sinister than it seems.

P Satheesh Kumar, food safety officer in Chennai city in Tamil Nadu, told The Indian Express newspaper that the contaminants in cotton candy “could lead to cancer and affect all organs of the body”.

His team raided candy sellers at a beach in the city last week. Mr Kumar said the sweet sold in the city was made by independent sellers and not registered factories.

A few days later, the government announced a ban on its sale after lab tests detected the presence of Rhodamine-B, a chemical compound, in the samples. The chemical imparts a fluorescent pink hue and is used to dye textiles, cosmetics and inks.

Studies have shown that the chemical can increase the risk of cancer and Europe and California have made its use as a food dye illegal.

While banning cotton candy in Tamil Nadu, Health Minister Ma Subramanian said in a statement that using Rhodamine-B in the “packaging, import, sale of food or serving food containing it at weddings and other public events would be punishable under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006”.

Taking a cue from Tamil Nadu, the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh has also reportedly started testing samples of the candy to check for the presence of the carcinogen.

And earlier this week, the New India Express newspaper reported that food safety officials in Delhi too were pushing for a ban on cotton candy.

(BBC News)

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Biden test positive for COVID-19, White House says

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Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and is suffering mild symptoms, the White House has said.

Karine Jean-Pierre, his press secretary, said the president is vaccinated and boosted. He has had Covid twice before.

Mr Biden, 81, was seen earlier on Wednesday visiting supporters in Las Vegas and speaking at an event. He has cancelled a campaign speech in the city tonight.

The illness comes as he faces increasing pressure to step aside because of his age following a poor debate performance at the end of June.

(BBC)
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by bbc.com has not been edited by SLM staff) 

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Cyanide found in blood of all 6 that died in luxury hotel suite in Bangkok

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Cyanide has been found in the blood of all six people who died in a luxury hotel suite in Bangkok, say doctors after examining their bodies.
Based on the initial post-mortem examination, they say there is “no other cause” that would explain their deaths “except for cyanide”.

But further tests are being carried out to determine the “intensity” of the deadly chemical and to rule out any other toxins.

Forensic investigators had earlier found traces of cyanide on the teacups used by the victims, all of whom are of Vietnamese origin including two with dual US citizenship. Police suspect that one of the dead was behind the poisoning and was driven by crushing debt – but have not said who.

The victims’ lips and nails had turned dark purple indicating a lack of oxygen, while their internal organs turned “blood red”, which is another sign of cyanide poisoning, said Professor Kornkiat Vongpaisarnsin of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Chulalongkorn University.

Doctor Chanchai Sittipunt, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said they still needed to find out how much cyanide was in the blood of the deceased.

“But from what we have detected – from observation, from internal organ check, from finding cyanide in the blood during the screening test – there is no other cause that would be the factor that would cause their deaths, except for cyanide,” he told reporters.

The deceased were found by housekeepers at the Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel in the Thai capital late on Tuesday.

Investigators believe they had been dead for between 12 and 24 hours by then.

The mystery around the shocking discovery made international headlines.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordered an urgent investigation into the case, stressing that the deaths were the result of a “private matter”, and there was no suggestion of public danger.

Police have since begun to piece together what might have happened.

Two of the six victims had loaned “tens of millions of Thai baht” to another of the deceased for investment purposes, authorities said. Ten million baht is worth nearly $280,000 (£215,000).

(BBC News)

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Nat Thaipun wins MasterChef Australia 2024 (Video)

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Victorian barista Nat Thaipun clinched the title of MasterChef Australia 2024, winning $250,000 and a residency at Crown Melbourne’s ALUMNI restaurant.

In a gripping finale, Thaipun triumphed over Tasmanian butcher Josh “Pezza” Perry, scoring 71 points to Pezza’s 68.

The competition featured a high-stakes ingredient challenge, where Nat’s innovative scotch egg with Northern Thai flavors wowed the judges. 

In the pressure test, Nat maintained her lead, despite some textural flaws, while Pezza delivered a commendable dish missing a key element.

Third-place finalist Savindri Perera, a Sri Lankan-born contestant, showcased her heritage with a unique take on chicken curry, inspired by her mother’s recipes. 

She shared her emotional journey, including struggles with body dysmorphia, in hopes of encouraging others.

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