What’s in it for me? And is it adul­ter­ation-free?

Consumer Voice - - Front Page -

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.

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