All kinds of markets whether big or small have a range of spices. India is a country where different kinds of foods are eaten, and spices play a dominant role in making the regional delicacies. The usage of spices in dishes depends on the location and the mass production of a particular spice in a particular area. Climate and geography also play a major role in determining the production and demand for spices.
But counterfeiting of spices has become a common affair and there is hardly any place left where counterfeit spices are not available. From black pepper to cinnamon, cloves to turmeric and bay leaves a wide variety of spices have fakes readily available in the market. These duplicate spices are usually cheap and thus pose a threat to the original spice manufacturing companies. Many times, the spices are adulterated with harmful chemicals to make them look visually similar, this causes a wide number of ailments in the consumers.
Forgers also sell very old spices in the name of fresh aromatic spices. Storing spices for a very long time reduces their quality and taste. Besides this point, forgers employ deceitful tactics to sell spices in the market. They often pack entirely different contents in place of the original. For example, papaya seeds are used in place of black pepper or common wooden birch in place of cinnamon. In many cases, the spices are also dyed to make them look visually similar to the original product.
There are certain spices that are substituted or diluted. Fake labels are also placed on the packaging to give them the look of the original. Here are some common spices and their adulterants.
In the U.S., what’s commonly sold as cinnamon is actually cassia, a cousin of true cinnamon.
Those little orange threads you bought aren’t saffron, they’re probably flowers from other harmless plants, most often calendula.
Papaya seeds sold as ground pepper are clearly mislabelled, but they won’t do you any harm.
Chilli powder has also been found to contain brick powder, talc, and even sand and dirt.