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Beware! Adulterated food items flood market, pose health risk to consumers

Beware! Adulterated food items flood market, pose health risk to consumers
March 12
07:29 2019
Megha

Megha

By Megha

Patna: Have you ever wondered that lustrous and gleaming food items, which are usually sold like hotcake in market, could be the reasons for various types of ailments? The sweet-and-sour, shrilled food items tickle the taste buds of each individual, but we generally tend to forget that everything that glitters is not always gold.

Healthy food leads to wealthy mind and soul. Food is the fuel that runs human body, but what if it is contaminated and found unfit for eating? A survey conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) says one out of four Indian people are unhealthy due to prevalence of unhealthy food habit and lifestyle.

Healthy Food

Healthy Food

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for the year 2016-2017, about 23.56% of the 72,499 food samples analyzed for quality were found adulterated or misbranded. The flow of adulterated or substandard food has risen by 4% in the market in 2016-17 as compared to 2014-15.

Adulteration of food simply means degradation in the quality of food either by adding inferior substances or by extracting the nutritution elements. The main motive behind adulteration of food is financial greed of the sellers.The addition of adulterants increase the volume and shelf-life of the eatables, by which the sellers tend to make more profit.

Adulterated food1

Adulterated Food

Other reasons behind food adulteration are carelessness, ignorance, lack of proper hygiene protocol, which unintentionally deteriorates the quality of food articles. Adulteration of food ultimately exerts harmful effects on health of the consumers.

The nature of adulteration varies from physical, chemical, metallic and microbiological contamination. More or less every food-item present in our kitchen be it milk, fruits, vegetables, grains or spices are not spared from the malicious practice of food adulteration.

The pattern analysis of food adulteration in current market situation shows 11.6% of cereals, 12.2% of sweets, 21.5 % of Milk, 16.3% of spices, 18% of oils, 9.3 % Tea and 11% ghee and vanaspati oil are subjected to contamination.

stomach disorder, liver disorder

Stomach disorder, Liver disorder

The consumption of adulterated food causes curable and incurable disorders and diseases, which can steal one’s healthy life. The intake of impure food stuffs may cause stomach disorder, liver disorder, acute and chronic headache, skin problems and even cancer depending upon degree of adulterants risk to health.

 Following are the most commonly adulterated food:

  • Milk:  Milk is the most targeted food product and easily adulterated by mixing diluted water, detergent, fat and urea.

How to check: Take a spoon of milk and drop it on a polished slanting surface. If milk flows leaving a white trail pattern then it is pure but if it doesn’t leave a mark then it is adulterated. Besides, Synthetic milk tastes bitter and turns yellow on heating.

  • Spices: Spices are the flavors of Indian cuisine but its tang and aroma is wiped off because of impure blending. Turmeric powder, Chili powder, black pepper and other spices are mixed with artificial colors and seeds.

How to check: To check chili powder, take a spoon of chili powder and mix it with a glass of water. If water turns to red or earthy colors then the chili powder is adulterated. Turmeric powder will turn water to solid yellow color due to presence of methanol yellow.

  • Black Pepper Seeds: Black pepper seed is m\often mixed with Papaya seeds which looks same in colour and texture.
Black Pepper

Black Pepper

How to check: Take a sppon of black pepper seed and drop it into alcohol.if there is papaya seed added in black pepper seed, it will sink.

  • Sugar: sugar is adulterated by mixing chalk powder to it.

bake-bakery-baking-

How to check: Take a spoon of sugar and add it to a glass of water. Pure sugar will settle at the bottom of glass while in case of adulterated sugar, chalk powder will float at the surface of glass.

  • Honey: Honey is often adulterated with water and sugar syrup to increase the quantity.

close-up-honey-pouring

How to check: Take a cotton ball and dip it in pure honey and light it with a matchstick. If the honey is adulterated with water, the cotton ball will not burn.

  • Tea Leaves: Tea leaves are often adulterated with iron fillings, chemicals and additives to add aroma or flavor.

drink-food-kitchen-32266

How to check: Take a filter paper and spread a few tea leaves on it. Sprinkle some water over the filter. If there is any color present in the leaves then it’ll stain the paper.

  • Eggs: Artificial eggs, made up of plastic, are hovering in the market in disguise of natural chicken eggs.

Eggs

How to check: Put the egg in a bowl of water. If the egg is natural, it will sink but if it is plastic egg it will float.

In the market flooded with artificial and contaminated eatables, consumers’ awareness is the only key to do away the health risk. Instances of adulteration are such rampant that consumers also urgently need to take preventive measures, which include following steps.

  • Always buy sealed packed food articles and check label properly.
  • Always buy food articles from hygienic stores.
  • Always test samples before buying loose stuffs like species, pulses.
  • Proper cleansing and rinsing the food stuffs at home before consumption.
  • Avoid purchasing food article without brand and manufacture’s detail.
  • Instead of buying vegetables from market, we can opt for small farming at home.
  • Spreading awareness about Agmark standards among the consumers.

Besides general awareness, people should also look for legal options to fight the bid to adulterate eatables. To combat the menace and control the implication of this uprising problem, Government has enacted laws regarding adulteration of food. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 aims to protect the consumers from fraudulent practices of traders and encourages fair trade practices, ensuring pure and wholesome quality of food to the consumers. Hence, it is responsibility on the part of consumers to file case against the traders in case of any cheating or adulteration witnessed in Consumer Court to incise web of food adulteration.

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Abhushan
Raymond

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