In this modern era, where there is the daily hustle of work and family, people have no time to cook or eat properly. They choose to satisfy their hunger with fast foods and other ready to eat foods, which satisfy their palate and hunger, but it lacks healthy nutrients.
Food is a necessity. The food prepared is as varied and rich as the taste of man, from the simplest meal to the most elaborate high-end cuisine. The ingredients or the nutrition facts on the food products are not the actual story of what we consume.
As we deal with other problems like overpopulation, environmental hazards, hunger, depleting natural resources, one of the man-made hazards that is noteworthy is Food Adulteration.
What is food adulteration?
Food adulteration occurs when food is polluted by an external source or when the natural composition or quality of the food is changed or altered. It can also have damaging effects on everyone’s health. Adulterated food is impure, unsafe and unhealthy. Adulteration can be done intentionally and accidentally. Accidental adulteration happens due to a lack ignorance or facilities for upkeep of food quality.
Whereas intentional food adulteration is a business strategy to gain more profit by cheaper means. Example the dairy vendors add water to the milk, mineral oil added to the edible oil and fats can cause cancer and many more methods which are toxic to our body.
The government is trying to tackle and control this major challenge. The FSSAI has also issued the draft amendments to the food safety and standard acts which were passed in 2006. Food adulteration is a serious offence that can lead to long-term punishments and cancellation of food license.
Detects Adulteration with Rapid Test (DART) These are certain tests you can perform at your own households with basic ingredients which help you detect if the food is adulterated or not! This helps you understand the food you consume if your food is doing justice to your health or not.
Methods to detect adulterated food at your home:
India is the world’s largest producer of milk. Milk is definitely the most adulterated item in India. other items include water, chalk powder, urea, and caustic soda which are heavily contaminated.
- Take a drop of milk and drop it on the polishing surface. Milk adulterated with water flows immediately without a mark. Pure milk flows with a white trail.
- Take some milk and add an equal amount of water to the milk. Shake it thoroughly. Pure milk forms a thin layer of foam. Adulterated milk with detergent forms dense lather
- Tea: Who doesn’t love a hot cup of tea? But could you be drinking coloured leaves tea as well!? Take some tea leaves and put them on a tissue paper. Rub the leaves together. If the tea leaves a colour, then you are probably drinking adulterated tea.
- One of the most popular products that is adulterated with honey and other ingredients. Test 1- In a glass of water add a teaspoon. of honey. The pure honey settles down at the bottom. Adulterated honey dissolves quickly into the water. Test 2- Burn test- Take a cotton wig and dip into the honey. Set the cotton wig on fire. Pure honey will burn instantly whereas adulterated honey will not burn if it burns it will burn with a crackling sound
- Salt- A staple ingredient in Indian kitchens.Test- In a glass of water and add teaspoon of salt. Pure salt gives clear water. Adulterated salt turns white.There are other ingredients in the market that are adulterated.
The food products are not only being adulterated as well as the food that is served in restaurants. During The pandemic, online shopping was at the top priority. The consumers do not really bother what type of food is being served to them.
The consumers totally forget about the health aspect and only concern about the food to be delivered. This has been a gain to the restaurant as they also only care to deliver the food on time rather than give a thought about the quality of food that is being served.
The best step to avoid food adulteration is prevention. We can take initiatives such as from where we buy our products, make sure you are not being fooled. Restaurants you go to are being regularly inspected by the health department. It is necessary to check the information labelled on the food products and expiry date.
It is also important to spread awareness about food adulteration as it is harmful to our body. This can lead to serious diseases such as diarrhoea, cancer. So it is important that we educate people about this serious issue.
Stay healthy and happy.