The Health Ministry is to take initiatives to prevent the sale of food with artificial colouring. A decision has been taken to grant full powers to Food Inspectors to carry out operations in this respect. The Ministry said it had received complaints that traders were using artificial food colouring to alter the appearance of food prior to selling it to consumers. Reports stated that red colouring has been used to alter the appearance of white rice and sell it to consumers as red rice, while certain meat products have also been subjected to such alteration by using food colouring to make them look fresh. However it has been revealed that artificial food colouring that is used are harmful to the health and that persons consuming such food items face an increased risk of cancer. Accordingly the guidelines that have been set out for Food Inspectors are to be amended to task them with more authority to institute action against any person found guilty of such deeds.Previously the jurisdiction of Food Inspectors had been limited to the local region they were based in. However as result of the amendments, in future the regional jurisdiction that was placed on Food Inspectors will be removed providing them the authority to take action throughout the island. Minister Maithripala Sirisena has issued instructions to effect these changes after receiving information that many traders were involved in altering the appearance of food using artificial food colouring.