New Yorkers will no longer be able to enjoy black-colored foods with activated charcoal anymore. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) says that activated charcoal is being banned from all food and drinks in the city.
The Department of Health issued commissioners orders that have asked restaurants to stop serving the black foods.
Black Foods Banned In New York City
The DOHMH cited rules by the US Food and Drug Administration as the reason for banning all foods with activated charcoal in the city. Activated charcoal is made from bone char, coconut shells, sawdust, and coal. Including this ingredient in food tends to give it a black color.
The FDA rules that DOHMH cites is that activated charcoal is not allowed to be used as a food additive or coloring agent to food. DOHMH says that it has been sending orders to restaurants to cease preparing food with activated charcoal since March 2016. The orders say that restaurants should discard the food that is considered adulterated food.
Proponents of the ingredient have said that it is healthy. To a certain extent, they're right. Activated charcoal is used in hospitals to stop poisons and lethal overdoses from being absorbed by the body. Those who believe in the health benefits say that it can prevent hangovers and stop the side effects of food poisoning.
Black foods are popular with people that enjoy posting about food on Instagram.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Black Coconut Ash ice cream. #notforlounging pic.twitter.com/CNZrqVJ9wM — Allbirds (@Allbirds) May 10, 2017
Are There Health Concerns About Activated Charcoal?
Even though there is a law against adding activated charcoal to food, science doesn't provide a clear-cut answer as to whether or not people should add it to food. There is little evidence that points to activated charcoal's ability to detoxify the body.
Activated charcoal can be harmless in small quantities. As with anything it can be dangerous if consumed in large quantities. Activated charcoal is good at absorbing different substances but it isn't able to determine which substances it will absorb. If it is consumed at a high rate it can absorb crucial nutrients away from the body.
Regular consumption of activated charcoal can lead to malnutrition, constipation, dehydration, and black-tinted feces. It is given to people to counteract an overdose but this can a bad thing for people that are taking medications.
Activated charcoal will absorb the drugs that people are taking which can make them become ineffective. Companies that sell activated charcoal warn that people should wait at least two hours after ingesting it to take their prescription drugs.