What’s in it for me? And is it adulteration-free?
What do we need to test ghee for, you may wonder. Isn't it a pure form of fat, with some essential properties for health? And it has a special place in India's traditions, being used for cooking as well as religious rituals. Ghee did fell out of favour in recent times, what with the proliferation and popularity of refined oils in the majority of urban homes, but slowly and surely it is now starting to claim its place back thanks mainly to various studies endorsing its beneficial properties. It may even be termed as the emerging superfood of our times, becoming a hot thing not just in India but globally as well. With a bevy of brands leaving us consumers quite spoilt for choice, it may be useful to know the parameters with which to assess their quality and acceptability. A couple of findings from our test results may leave us somewhat surprised. For example, though ghee is expected to be rich in vitamin E, the same was below detection limit (0.50 mg/100 gm) in all the brands we tested. What about vitamin A then? And the other nutrients that ghee is so eulogised for? Read on to get the report on 14 leading ghee brands.
As per our standard procedure, we undertook market research to identify the regular-selling brands of ghee across the country. We tested 14 brands (6 desi ghee brands and 8 cow ghee brands) on various quality, safety and acceptability parameters. One brand, Navdanya, claims to be desi cow ghee and also happens to be the costliest (Rs 660 for 330 gm).
The key parameters for which the ghee brands were tested included milk fat, vitamins A and E, energy The samples were tested as per specification laid out by FSS Regulations 2011, Agmark and Indian Standard IS: 16326:2015.
value and various fats. We also carried out a series of tests to check for adulteration (with vegetable fats, animal body fats, etc.). The testing was conducted at an NABL-accredited laboratory. Ghee means the pure clarified fat derived solely from milk or curd or from desi (cooking) butter or from cream to which no colouring matter or preservative has been added. To clarify means removal of unwanted solid matter or impurities. Due to variation in its composition from region to region and season to season, depending on the type of animal and the feed given, the establishment of its purity often involves elaborate analysis, as well as tests for its keeping quality. Ghee is a carrier of the fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E and K, which our body needs in very small quantities but cannot make for itself. These vitamins perform many essential functions. Similarly, the essential fatty acids, which cannot be synthesised in our body, are also supplied by ghee.