New Delhi, Dec 5: The Delhi high court has been informed by the city government's food safety department that samples of rice dishes collected by it from two popular eateries here have been found to be unsafe.
In an affidavit filed by the department, it said that the presence of artificial colour rendered the dishes "unsafe" for human consumption.
Rice samples collected for testing from Sagar Ratna restaurant in Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar also were found to be unsafe.
The response of the government came on a petition seeking ban on the sale of fruits, vegetables and food items with artificial colours and pesticides.
The affidavit said legal action has been initiated against the offenders.
It also said samples of ghee collected from various eateries were found to be of "sub-standard" quality and were "misbranded" to mislead the public.
Samples of fruit and vegetable chutney picked up from the Bikanerwala restaurant at the ITL Tower in Netaji Subhash Place also showed addition of artificial colours.
After the high court's direction, the department has been regularly inspecting fruits and vegetables in markets here to detect colours and pesticide residue in them.
A total of 1,420 samples of various edible items were taken since the court issued the direction March 5. Five of them showed the presence of pesticide residue above the prescribed tolerance limit.
The court had acted suo motu on a report by NGO Consumer Voice, which in 2010 found that 35 varieties of vegetables and fruits, picked from Delhi markets and tested for pesticide content, had toxins beyond permissible limits.