Your Food May Be Adulterated
So, be aware and alert, take precautions, report
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.