Adulterations in food, should we really worry?

Adulteration of food is addition or subtraction of any substance from food so the natural composition and quality of food substance is affected

Food is declared adulterated if

–        A substance is added which depreciates or injuriously affects it.

–        Cheaper or inferior substances are substituted wholly or in part.

–        Any valuable or necessary constituent has been wholly or in part abstracted.

–        It is an imitation

–        It is colored or otherwise treated to improve its appearance or if it contains any added substance injurious to health


  1. Interlineal adulteration

Done for financial gain addition of sand, marble, chips, chalk power, mineral oil, and harmful color.


  1. Incidental adulteration

Happen due to carelessness and lack of proper hygienic conditions of processing, storage eq. pesticide residues left in foods.


  1. Metallic adulteration

Metallic adulteration occurs due to arsenic from pesticides lead from water. Efficient from chemical industries, tin from cans

Food adulteration has become a very common practice in our country and we are consuming their foods almost every day which have harmful effects on our health.It is called social evil and a slow poison

Adulteration and disease

–        Cow/ buffalo milk can be adulterated with starch, milk powder, urea, formalin, detergent

Causes – causes acute renal failure.

Detection of detergent in milk – We will take 5 ML of the sample with an equal amount of water shake it both if milk is adulterated with detergent it forms dense lather and pure milk will form a very thin form layer due to agitation

–        Ghee/ghee essence is used in cheaper oils and passed off as pure ghee. This ghee will not solidify like normal ghee and it may also not have that grainy texture of pure ghee

Causes – cancer and acute renal failure. The agrimony oil used to adulterate ghee and butter is highly toxic it causes a disease known as dropsy [fluid collection in some part of the body] it may also paralyze the limbs.

Detection of adulteration in ghee – for this we take ½ TS of ghee in a glass bowl add 2 drops of tincture of iodine, formation if blue colored indicates the presence of mashed potato sweet potato and other starches.

–        Mustards seeds and oil/adulterant – Age agrimony seeds and oil mineral oil also added to edible oil.

Causes—Epidemic dropsy and glaucoma due to agrimony cancer due to mineral oil

For detection – we take a small quantity of mustard seeds in a glass plate examine for agrimony seeds, they have a grainy rough surface and are black in color.

–        Sugar and salt adulterants like chalk powder, white sand, washing soda, plastic crystals, urea, and rawa.

Causes – chalk power may cause respiratory problems, washing soda causes diarrheas, nausea, and vomiting.

For detection – stir ¼ TS sample of salt in a glass of water. Pure salt dissolver completely and give a clear solution. The adulterated salt solution turns dense white turbid in the presence of chalk power and settles down in the bottom.

Additives and synthetic colors used in different food items are harmful. Tartrazine in a synthetic lemon yellow AZO dye primarily used as a food coloring. It is also known as E number E 102 coloring agent. It can cause itching, urticarial, runny nose, and asthma. Saccharin and cyclamate are used as artificial sweetness which cause cancer of urinary bladder in long run. MSG, sodium, meta bisulphate, and sulphur dioxide causes chest tightness burning sensation, asthmatic attack, damage in brain and heart problems.

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