Food is adulterated if its quality is lowered or affected by the addition of substances which are injurious to health or by the removal of substances which are nutritiousSome preservatives can be very harmful to our health when used for a long period of time. Food colours used extensively in foods like pickles, canned vegetables, juices and sweets can be toxic too. To avoid illness one must select foods with care. All raw food must be checked for contamination particularly in areas where hygiene and sanitation are inadequate. • What is Food Adulteration?
• How To Test For food Adulteration
• What You Can Do? What Is Food Adulteration? Under the Prevention of Food Adulterant Act, an Adulterant is any material which be employed for the purposes of adulteration Any article of food is adulterated if :
1. If any inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or in part, 2. If any constituent of the article ahs been wholly or in part abstracted 3. If the article has been prepared, packed or kept under insanitary conditions 4. If the article consists in part filthy, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal or vegetable or is infested with insects 5. If the article is obtained from diseased animal 6. If the article contains any poisonous ingredient 7. If the article has un-prescribed colouring substance or the colouring substance is in excess of the prescribed limits. 8. If the article contains any prohibited or excessive preservatives. 9. If the quality nor purity of the article falls below prescribed standard How to Test for Food Adulteration?
Simple Method for Detecting the Adulterant
|Milk||Water Urea||Put a drop of milk on polished vertical surface. The drop of pure milk flows slowly leaving a white trail behind it. Whereas milk adulterated with water will flow faster without leaving a mark.Take 5 ml of milk in a test tube and add 2 drops of Bromothymol blue soln. If it turns blue after 10 minutes it indicates the presence of urea.|
|Mustard Seeds||Argemone Seeds||Argemone seeds have a rougher surface. Mustard seeds are yellow inside while Argemone seeds are white.|
|Ice Cream||Washing Powder||Put some lemon juice on the ice cream, if it contains washing powder , you will observe bubbles.|
|Sugar||Chalk||Sugar/salt will completely dissolve in a glass of water, whereas chalk will settle down at the bottom.|
|Silver Foil||Aluminum Foil||On ignition genuine silver foil burns away completely leaving a glistening white spherical ball of the same mass while aluminum foil is reduced to ashes of black Grey colour.|
|Honey||Water||A cotton wick dipped in pure honey burns when ignited with a match stick. If adulterated with water it does will produce a cracking sound and not burn properly.|
|Coffee||Chicory||Gently sprinkle coffee powder on the surface of water in a glass. The coffee floats over the water but chicory begins to sink within few seconds. The falling chicory particles leave behind them a trail ofcolour, due to the caramel they contain.|
|Tea||Colored leaves Used tea Iron fillings||Rub the leaves on a white paper; artificial colour comes out on paper.Tea leaves when sprinkled on wet filter paper leave pink or red spots. Move a magnet through the sample. Iron will stick to the magnet.|
|Red Chilli Powder||Rodamine Culture Brick Powder||Take 2gms sample in a test tube, add 5ml of acetone. Immediate appearance of red colour indicates presence of Rodamine.When added to water brick powder settles immediately while chilli powder takes longer.|
|Turmeric Powder||Metanil Yellow||Add a few drops of HCl* to turmeric solution. If the solution turns violet, and the colour persists even when diluted with water it indicates the presence of metanil yellow.|
|Dal arhar, moong, washed channa||Metanil Yellow||Extract the colour with Luke warm water from the sample of pulses, add drops of HCl. A pink colour indicates presence of metanil yellow.|
|Green vegetables like chilli||Malachite green||Take a small sample and place it over a moistened white blotting paper, the impression of the colour on paper indicates the presence of malachite green|
|Pure Ghee or Butter||Vanaspathi||Take one teaspoonful of melted ghee or butter with equal quantity of Conc. Hydrochloric acid in a test tube and add to it a pinch of cane sugar. Shake well for one minute and let it stand for five minutes. Appearance of crimson colour in lower layer shows the presence of vanaspathi.|
|Black Pepper||Papaya Seeds||Float the sample in alcohol. The mature black pepper berries sink while papaya seeds and light black pepper float.|
|Hing||Soap Stone or earthy matter||Shake a little portion of sample with water and allow to settle. Soap stone or earthy matter will settle down at the bottom.|
|Saffron||Coloured dried tendrils of maize cob||Pure saffron will not break easily like artificial. Pure saffron when allowed to soak in water will continue to give out colour as long as it lasts.|
|Common Salt||White powdered stone||Stir a spoonful of sample salt in water. Chalk will make the solution white and other insoluble impurities will setlle down.|
For HCL you can use Tezab /Acid at your home, used for cleaning toilets. For Acetone , you may use look nail polish remover.. What You Can Do?
Food adulteration is a problem faced by both rural and urban people. Buying trusted, branded and ISI-marked products is a safer option. They may cost a little extra, but it is worth paying the extra amount to safe guard your health. It is easy to approach a company that produces branded products in case there is a doubt regarding its quality. Always remember to preserve your grocery bills as then it is easy to file a complaint. Any person found manufacturing, selling, storing, importing or distributing any article of food which is adulterated or misbranded, he is liable under the PFA Act to be imprisonment and fined. Complaints can be made to Prevention of Food Adulteration Department in your city / town / district. You must also report to the newspapers or the media to make more people become aware and take strong action against such incidents.