Food Aduteration



Today in India there is a drastic increase in food adulteration.

According to experts and government officials concerned, daily food necessities like rice, fish, fruits, vegetables and sweetmeats are indiscriminately adulterated with hazardous chemicals.
Many of you may be unaware  about food adulteration.

An adulterated food is impure, unsafe, or unwholesome food.

Food adulteration is the addition or removal of any substances to or from food, so that the natural composition and quality is affected. 
Food can be adulterated intentionally and accidentally. Unintentional adulteration is a result of ignorance or the lack of facilities to maintain food quality. This may be caused by spill over effect from pesticides and fertilisers. Inappropriate food handling and packaging methods can also result in adulteration.
Intentional food adulteration is usually done for financial gain. The most common form of intentional adulteration is colour adulteration. Some examples of intentional adulteration are addition of water to liquid milk, extraneous matter to ground spices, or the removal or substitution of milk solids from the natural product. Natural adulteration occurs due to the presence of certain chemicals, organic compounds or radicals naturally occurring in foods which are injurious to health and are not added to the foods intentionally or unintentionally. Some of the examples are toxic varieties of pulses, mushrooms, green and other vegetables, fish and seafoods. About 5,000 species of marine fish are known to be poisonous and many of these are among edible varieties.

While traditionally, Indian families used to cook food at home with healthy ingredients and knew what went into the meal, in modern times, with rising incomes and affluence, more and more people are moving away to readymade fast foods and eating regularly at restaurants. The food in many of these outlets is cooked with poor quality ingredients to attract and satisfy the palate rather than provide a wholesome nutritional meal. We now have a lot more varieties and the choices are many. Though, some of us may not be aware of the fact that the food we consume may be adulterated, 25 to 30 per cent of the food items in India are intentionally adulterated.


FoodAdulterantDetection
Arhar PulseKesarri PulseKesari Pulse has a characteristic wedge shape. Larger Kesari resembles Arhar (Tur). It can be separated by visual examination.
AsafoetidaResin and colourTake a little amount of small parts of the sample in test tube. Add 3 ml of distilled water and shake the tube gently. Pure asafoetida dissolves in water very quickly and produces a milky white colour, but in case of adulteration with a chemical colour the mixture turns to be coloured. The purity of asafoetida may also be examined by taking a little amount of it on the tip of a fork and placing the same on the flame of a spirit lamp. Asafoetida burns quickly, producing bright flame and leaving the impurities behind.
Black PepperPapaya SeedsPapaya seeds do not have any smell and are relatively smaller in size. Adulteration of papaya seed with Black Pepper may be detected by way of visual examination as also by way of smelling.
Coffee powderCereal starchTake a small quantity (one-fourth of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube and add 3 ml of distilled water in it. Light a spirit lamp and heat the contents to colourize. Add 33 ml of a solution of potassium permanganate and muratic acid (1:1) to decolourize the mixture. The formation of blue colour in mixture by addition of a drop of 1% aqueous solution of iodine indicated adulteration with starch.
Coffee powderPowder of scorched persimmon stonesTake a small quantity (1 tea-spoon) of the sample and spread it on a moistened blotting paper. Pour on it, with much care, 3 ml of 2% aqueous solution of sodium carbonate. A red colouration indicates the presence of powder of scorched persimmon stones in coffee powder.
Coriander powderSaw DustTake a little amount (a half of tea-spoon) of the sample. Sprinkle it on water in a bowl. Spice powder gets sedimented at the bottom and saw-dust floats on the surface.
Cumin PowderSaw DustTake a little amount (a half of tea-spoon) of the sample. Sprinkle it on water in a bowl. Spice powder gets sedimented at the bottom and saw-dust floats on the surface.
Dry red chilliRhodamine B colourTake a red chilli from the sample and rub the outer surface with a piece of cotton soaked in liquid paraffin. The sample is adulterated if the cotton becomes red.
Dry turmeric rootMetanil yellow colourTake a piece of dry turmeric root and rub the outer surface with a piece of cotton soaked in liquid paraffin. A yellow colouration of cotton indicates adulteration of turmeric root with metanil yellow colour.
Gram powderKesari powderTake a little amount (a half of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube with 3 ml of distilled water. Add 3 ml of muratic acid. Immerse the tube in warm water. Check the tube after 15 minutes. A violet colouration indicates the presence of Kesari powder in Gram powder.
Gram powderMetanil yellow colourTake a small quantity (a half of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube. Add 3 ml of alcohol. Shake the tube to mix up the contents thoroughly. Add 10 drops of hydrochloric acid in it. A pink colouration indicates adulteration of gram powder with metanil yellow.
Green vegetables like Bitter Gourd, Green Chilli and othersMalachite GreenTake a small part of the sample and place it on a piece of moistened white blotting paper. The impression of colour on the paper indicates the use of malachite green, or any other low priced artificial colour.
Green vegetables like Bitter Gourd, Green Chilli and othersMalachite GreenRub the outer green surface of a small part of the sample with a liquid paraffin soaked cotton. The sample is adulterated when the white cotton turns green.
JaggeryMetanil yellow colourTake a little amount (one-fourth of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube. Add 3 ml of alcohol and shake the tube vigorously to mix up the contents. Pour 10 drops of hydrochloric acid in it. A pink colouration indicates the presence of metanil yellow colour in jaggery.
JaggerySodium bicarbonateTake a little amount (one-fourth of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube. Add 3 ml of muratic acid. The presence of sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate effects effervescence.
Parched riceUreaTake 30 pieces of parched rice in a test tube. Add 5 ml of distilled water. Shake the tube to mix up the contents thoroughly. After 5 minutes, filter water contents and add to it a little amount (a half of a tea-spoon) of powder of arhar or soyabean. Wait for another 5 minutes and then dip a red litmus paper in the mixture. Lift the paper after 30 seconds and examine it. A blue colouration indicates the use of urea in parched rice.
Pigeon Pea (Toor Dal)Metanil YellowTake a small handful of the pulse and boil it. Strain the water and grind the boiled peas with a mortar and pestle. Transfer this sample into a test tube and add 10cc of distlled water.Shake the test tube rigorously to mix up the contents thoroughly. Add 10 drops of hydrochloric acid in it. A pink colouration indicates adulteration of peas with metanil yellow.
Processed food, sweetmeat or syrupMetanil YellowTake little amount (a half of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube. Add 10 drops of muratic acid or hydrochloric acid in it. The appearance of rosy colour indicates adulteration of food with metanil yellow.
Processed food, sweetmeat or syrupRhodamine B colourThe presence of this chemical colour in food is very easy to detect as it shines very brightly under sun. A more precise methods of detection is also there.
Take a little amount (a half of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube. Add 3 ml of carbon tetrachloride and shake the tube to mix up the contents thoroughly. The mixture becomes colourless and an addition of a drop of hydrochloric acid brings the colour back when food contains Rhodamine B colour.
RiceEarth, sand, grit, unhusked paddy, rice bran, talc, etc.These adulterants may be detected visually and removed by way of sorting, picking, and washing.
Sweet potatoRhodamine B colourTake a small part of the sample and rub the red outer surface with a piece of cotton soaked in liquid paraffin. The cotton adhering colour indicates the use of Rhodamine B colour on outer surface of the sweet potato.
Tea LeavesCoal Tar DyeScatter a little amount (1 tea-spoon) of the sample on a moistened white blotting paper. After 5 minutes, remove the sample and examine the paper. A revelation of coloured spots indicates the use of the dye.
Tea LeavesIron FlakesSpread a small quantity (2 tea-spoon) of the sample on a piece of paper. Draw a magnet over it. Iron flakes, if present, cling to the magnet. The same test may be carried out to trace iron flakes from tea half-dust and iron filings from tea dust.
Tea LeavesLeather FlakesPrepare a paper-ball. Fire the ball and drop a little amount of the sample on it. The presence of leather flakes emits an odour of burnt leather.
Turmeric powderMetanil yellow colourTake a little amount (one-fourth of a tea-spoon) of the sample in a test tube. Add 3 ml of alcohol. Shake the tube to mix up the contents thoroughly. Add 10 drops of muratic acid or hydrochloric acid in it. A pink colouration indicates the use of metanil yellow colour in turmeric powder.
WheatEarth, sand, grit, chopped straw, bran, unhusked grain, and seeds of weeds.These adulterants may be detected visually and removed by way of sorting, picking, and washing.


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