Screen Your Food Before You Eat!

Food Adulteration

There is one similarity amongst people working in farms, factories, offices, shops or any other setup. They all work to eat two meals a day! But what if the meal, that we all work so hard for is not doing good or rather bad to our bodies?

Food adulteration is not a common thing in today’s time. By now, we all must have eaten or come across adulterated food items. What counterfeit does to goods, adulteration does to food!

We have been learning the deleterious effects of adulterated food items since middle school but have we really done anything about it? Have we really thought about the irreversible damages, these items are causing to our bodies?

Well, we’d like you to ponder about it and if the results of consuming these food items seems as much scary as they appear to us, don’t just sit doing nothing.

Not everything can be tested at home, but we bring to you some easy tests for daily consumables, that can help you identify between a good and an adulterated food item and can really help you stay away from consuming those harmful eatables.

1. Milk – Milk is commonly adulterated with unhygienic water, chalk powder, soap powder, urea, starch etc. It can cause problems like vomiting, nausea, food poisoning, heart problems and even cancer.

Test – Put a drop of milk on a slanted surface. If the drop leaves a white trail, it is a good sign of the milk being pure. But, if it fails to leave the trail, it is adulterated.
On heating, if the milk turns yellow and leaves a bitter and soapy kind of after taste, there are huge chances that the milk has synthetic substances added to it.

2. Coffee powder – Coffee powder is commonly contaminated with chicory powder and tamarind seeds. Consuming such coffee can cause giddiness, joint pains, diarrhoea, and several other stomach disorders.

Test – Take a glass of water and sprinkle a small amount of coffee powder on the surface. If the product is coffee, it will remain afloat whereas if chicory is present, it will sink to the bottom leaving behind a coloured trail.

3. Turmeric powder – Turmeric powder is commonly adulterated with yellow aniline dye and non-permitted colourants like metanil yellow. It can cause stomach disorders and cancer also.

Test – Add a few drops of concentrated HCL in a test tube containing turmeric powder. If you spot pink, purple, or violet hues in the mixture, the turmeric powder is adulterated.

4. Ice-cream – Ice-creams are commonly adulterated with washing powder. Eating contaminated ice-creams can cause serious liver and stomach disorders

Test – Add a few drops of lemon juice to it, if the ice cream starts to froth, it clearly indicates the presence of washing powder in it.

5. Ghee – Ghee is commonly adulterated with vegetable oils or animal body fats which can cause anemia and enlargement of heart.

Test – Take a test tube, add 1 ml of water and about 0.5 g of ghee and boil this mixture. On cooling, add a drop of iodine to it. If the colour turns blue, then it is adulterated with starchy substances.

6. Mustard seeds and oil – Mustard oil is commonly adulterated with argemone seeds and can cause epidemic dropsy and severe glaucoma.

Test – Take a few seeds and crush them. When argemone seeds are crushed, they will reveal a whitish structure on the inside. On the other hand, Mustard seeds will have a yellow inner surface.

7. Sugar – Sugar is usually adulterated with chalk powder. It can cause serious stomach disorders.

Test – Add sugar to a glass of water. If the sugar is unadulterated, it will sink at the bottom and but if it has chalk powder in it, the adulterants will float at the surface of the water.

8. Honey – Honey is often adulterated with water to increase the bottle’s quantity.

Test – To ensure that honey is not mixed with water, dip a cotton wick in pure honey and light it with a matchstick. The honey will not burn, if there is water in the jar.

These are some of the methods that can be used to test the authenticity of food items. But the best is being educated about what you are buying and from where? Buying products from legitimate sellers often reduces the risk of food adulteration.

FMCG industry is one of the top seven industries whose goods are counterfeited, so be careful the next time you go out for your grocery shopping.