Food is essential for life. It should be pure, nutritious
and free from any type of adulteration for proper maintenance
of human health.
Despite of improvement in production,
processing and packaging, more poisons seem to be entering our
food chain. For example Indian spices or 'masalas' add taste and flavour to
food and also help in digestion. Some spices like turmeric have
an antiseptic effect on the body. But what is most important is
the quality of these ingredients. Every consumer wants to get
maximum quantity of a commodity for as low a price as possible.
This attitude of the consumer being coupled with the intention
of the traders to increase the margin of profit, where the
quality of the commodity gets reduced through addition of a
baser substance and / or removal of vital elements also commonly
known as food adulteration.
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 :
inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or in
constituent of the article ahs been wholly or in part abstracted
If the article has been prepared, packed or kept under insanitary conditions
If the article consists in part filthy, rotten, decomposed
or diseased animal or vegetable or is infested with insects
article is obtained from diseased animal
article contains any poisonous ingredient
If the article has unprescribed colouring substance or the
colouring substance is in excess of the prescribed limits.
article contains any prohibited or excessive preservatives.
quality nor purity of the article falls below prescribed
How to Test for Food Adulteration?
Simple Method for Detecting the
Put a drop of milk on polished vertical surface. The drop of
pure milk either stops or flows slowly leaving a white trail
behind it. Whereas milk adulterated with water will flow
immediately without leaving a mark.
Take 5 ml of milk in a test tube and add 2 drops of
bromothymol blue soln. Development of blue colour after 10
minutes indicates presence of urea.
Argemone seeds have rough surface and mustard seeds on
pressing is yellow inside while argemone seed is white.
Put some lemon juice, bubbles are observed on the presence
of washing powder
Dissolve sugar in a glass of water, chalk will settle down
at the bottom, similarly for salt
On ignition genuine silver foil burns away completely
leaving glistening white spherical ball of the same mass
while aluminum foil is reduced to ashes of black Grey colour.
A cotton wick dipped in pure honey burns when ignited with a
match stick. If adulterated presence of water will not allow
the honey to burn, if it does will produce a cracking sound.
Gently sprinkle the coffee powder on surface of water in a
glass. The coffee floats over the water but chicory begins
to sink down within few seconds. The falling chicory powder
particles leave behind them a trail of colour, due to large
amount of caramel they contain
Rub leaves on white paper, artificial colour comes out on
Tea leaves sprinkled on wet filter paper. Pink or red spots
on paper show colour
Move a magnet through the sample. Iron will stick to the
Red Chilli Powder
Take 2gms sample in a test tube, add 5ml of acetone.
Immediate appearance of red colour indicates presence of
powder settles fast chilli powder settles slowly when put in
Add a few drops of HCl to the extract of turmeric from
water. Instant appearance of violet, when the colour
persists when diluted with water indicates the presence of
Dal arhar, moong, washed channa
Extract the colour with Luke warm water from the sample of
pulses, add drops of HCl. A pink colour indicates presence
of metanil yellow.
Take a small part of the 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
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.
||Float the sample in alcohol. The mature
black pepper berries sink while papaya seeds and light black
||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.
||Coloured dried tendrils of maize cob
||Pure saffron will not break easily like
artificial. Pure saffron when allowed to dissolved in water
will continue to give its colour so long as it lasts.
||White powdered stone
||Stir a spoonful of sample salt in water.
Chalk will make the solution white and other insoluble
impurities will setlle down.
HCL you can use Tezab /Acid at your home, used for
cleaning toilets. For acetone , you may use look nail polish remover.
you can use Tezab /Acid at your home, used for
cleaning toilets. Instead of acetone , you may use look
nail polish remover.
What You Can Do ?
Food Adulteration occur in rural as well as urban areas. So
the first option is to buy
branded and ISI-marked products. Even if these branded items cost
a little extra, it is worth paying the extra amount to safe
guard your health.
If you have purchased any branded item and doubt its quality,
you can at least approach the company concerned. Always remember
to preserve your grocery bills so that the company can take
necessary steps regarding the complaint
If any person manufactures for sale, stores, sell imports or
distributes any article of food which is adulterated or
misbranded, he is liable under the PFA Act to be punished with
imprisonment and fined. If you find that any food is
adulterated, then do not keep silent. Complain to Prevention of
Food Adulteration Department in your city / town / district and
report to the newspapers and make more and more people aware to
take joint action.
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