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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Food adulteration infiltrates in many hidden forms

Pollution is everywhere, Adulteration is common but You still need to look out for hidden areas for food safety.
No pure food to eat - Veterans in India frequently use phrases boasting their physical capacity thanks to pure Ghee the enhanced butter added with availability of pure food. The regular complaint also finds its place when talking the food elements not being pure now a days.

In a country where food adulteration is rampant and the official machinery completely inept at controlling it, it makes sense to have a basic knowledge of the kinds of adulteration that occurs in our food and water. You have to be alert now with respect to hidden sources of bad food elements too.

Water that is sold as mineral water, is mostly the local water packed and sealed by local marketers. The contamination of these waters is very high as the municipal supply itself is of very poor standards. There is virtually no check on the quality of the water supplied by our municipalities. When travelling in India most of us prefer to buy bottled water as they do not trust the quality of water in the taps.  In reality, you may be drinking unsafe water at an exorbitant price.
The next liquid in our diet is milk that since a long time has been adulterated by adding water. Today, you are not even sure if the white liquid you give your children is milk at all. A huge hue and cry was made when milk in most samples was found to be a concoction of washing powder and all kinds of chemicals. The adulterators lie down low for some time and then come back with  renewed zeal. There is no deterrent for this crime. It is in such a scenario that we must undertake some simple tests that can help us find the adulteration in our food.
Metanil yellow is used in dals to enhance its yellow color. Take any yellow colored powder in lukewarm water and add any mild acid at home , if it turns pink, violet or purple, it confirms the presence of Metanil yellow.  It is considered carcinogenic and harms the stomach too. Green color (Malachite green) that is added to green vegetables is easily detected by placing it over a damp blotting paper. This is again a known carcinogenic. The most surprising is the adulteration in ice-creams where the adulterant is washing powder to add glaze to the ice-cream. The moment you squeeze some lemon juice onto it, it begins to froth confirming the presence of washing powder. This kind of adulteration leads to severe stomach disorders.
A number of other products are also contaminated and sold openly in the market. The yellow dals are mixed with Kesari dal to add volume. Kesari dal is also known to harm our body. Adulteration of black pepper is by adding papaya seeds that can cause damage to our liver and stomach. Coffee powder is adulterated with tamarind seed powder and chicory powder that can cause diarrhea and severe arthritic pain. The health of all of us can be severely affected by the argemone seeds in mustard and hence the mustard oil derived from it.

There seems to be no respite from food adulteration, the various departments are unable to prevent such all pervasive adulteration. The end result is that the citizens have to turn into watchdogs for their own families. There are hardly any arrests and fewer convictions for such grave crimes. As long as corruption and negligence of duty on the part of the concerned departments continue, we will continue to pay through our nose for sub-standard, adulterated and potentially harmful food. 

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