Your Food May Be Adul­ter­ated

So, be aware and alert, take pre­cau­tions, re­port

Consumer Voice - - Contents -

Most of us are aware that food adul­ter­ation hap­pens and also that it can be detri­men­tal to our health, but feel help­less or un­able to deal with it. We think we don't have the time or ex­per­tise to get to the bot­tom of it. But think this way – what if the food items that you con­sume reg­u­larly are the ones that are most com­monly adul­ter­ated? Is that ac­cept­able? Should you stay com­pla­cent about be­ing ig­no­rant?

Some of the com­monly adul­ter­ated foods are milk and milk prod­ucts, flour, ed­i­ble oils, ce­re­als, condi­ments (whole and ground), pulses, cof­fee, tea, con­fec­tionery, baking pow­der, non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages, vine­gar, be­san and curry pow­der. Mere vis­ual in­spec­tion does not help in de­tect­ing adul­ter­ants, es­pe­cially when adul­ter­ation has as­sumed a high de­gree of so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

Adul­ter­ation of food is com­monly de­fined as ‘the ad­di­tion or sub­trac­tion of any sub­stance to or from food, where the nat­u­ral com­po­si­tion and qual­ity of food sub­stance is af­fected.’ Adul­ter­ation can be in­ten­tional, done by ei­ther re­mov­ing sub­stances from food or al­ter­ing the ex­ist­ing nat­u­ral prop­er­ties of food know­ingly. Un­in­ten­tional adul­ter­ation is usu­ally at­trib­uted to ig­no­rance, care­less­ness or lack of fa­cil­i­ties for main­tain­ing food qual­ity.

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 coloured or oth­er­wise treated to im­prove its ap­pear­ance, or if it con­tains any added sub­stance in­ju­ri­ous to health • For what­ever rea­sons its qual­ity is be­low the Stan­dard

Adul­ter­ated food is dan­ger­ous be­cause it may be toxic. More com­monly, it can take away nu­tri­ents es­sen­tial for proper growth and de­vel­op­ment.

Very of­ten food is adul­ter­ated by mer­chants and traders who are un­scrupu­lous and want to make a quick profit. But short­ages and in­creas­ing prices, con­sumer de­mands for va­ri­ety in foods, a lack of aware­ness, neg­li­gence, in­dif­fer­ence and lethargy among con­sumers, and in­ad­e­quate en­force­ment of food laws and food safety mea­sures also lead to food adul­ter­ation. Aware­ness among con­sumers is a must to dis­cour­age sale of sub­stan­dard food ar­ti­cles.

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