Food adulteration is one of the most common problems for consumers across India, with instances of adulteration affecting almost every product, from packaged milk to dals and coffee powder. Adulteration is at times unintentional, but it’s often purposeful and frequently hazardous. Food adulteration is worrying because it isn’t always a simple case of dilution; some adulterated foods can have high toxicity levels posing serious health risks increasing susceptibility to heart failure, kidney disease, liver disorders, and more. At the most basic level, it alters the nutritive value of food, leading to nutritional deficiencies.
While government agencies have a key role to play in ensuring food safety, as a consumer it’s ultimately up to you to ensure the safety of food for your family. While you may argue that you buy branded food packets, fake goods are commonplace in India.
Here are some simple household tests that you can use to detect adulterants in food that you purchase:
Malachite green is an artificial color that is sometimes added to green chilies and veggies that aren’t green enough! To find out if the food you’re buying is naturally green or tampered with, soak a piece of cotton in paraffin and rub it across the green surface of the food. You can be sure of food contamination with artificial colors if the cotton turns green.
Honey is renowned for its health benefits, but you might not be having pure honey, as it’s sometimes diluted with water or sugar solution. To check if honey is adulterated, dip a cotton wick in it and light it. If the wick burns then the honey is pure, but this won’t happen if it’s been diluted.
Turmeric Powder Or Besan:
Dissolve a spoonful of turmeric or besan powder in 20 ml of lukewarm water and add any acidic solution you have at home like lemon juice (acetic acid) or orange juice (citrus acid) to the water. If the color turns pink, purple or violet, your food is adulterated.
Shockingly, ice cream is sometimes adulterated with washing powder! To find out if your ice cream contains washing powder just take a small scoop or a spoonful of ice cream and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on to it. If the ice cream begins to foam and bubble, you can be sure that it’s contaminated.
Yes, common salt is adulterated with chalk powder, but iodized salt is adulterated with common salt! To test your salt, apply some salt over a slice of potato and sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice. If unadulterated you’ll notice it turn blue, but if there’s no change in color you can bet that it’s adulterated.
Sadly, these days it takes a lot more than making healthy food choices to stay healthy. With these tips to detect food adulteration you can ensure that you don’t fall for common cons used by unscrupulous traders.
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