Food Adulterants

Food Adulterants

Adulteration means the addition of such substances in the food which are harmful, toxic and cause deterioration of health.

According to Prevention of Food Adulteration Act; a food article is considered adulterated if it:

• Contains any added poisonous or deleterious substance;
• Contains filth;
• Contains Unapproved food or, coloured additives;
• If any valuable constituent has been omitted or removed;
• If any substance has been substituted for it;
• If inferiority is concealed; and
• If any substance has been added to increase bulk or weight, or to make it appear more valuable.

Common adulterants 

1. Desi ghee : adulterant added is Vanaspati, hydrogenated fat, animal fat, vegetable oils, argemone oil, mashed potato, sweet potato.
2. Haldi/Trurmeric : adulterant added is Metanil yellow.
3. Milk: adulterant added is Water dried milk, powder, urea, synthetic milk form shampoos, detergent, soluble starch and low quality refined oil.
4.  Green chillies, green peas and other vegetables: adulterant added is Malachite Green (To accentuate the bright, glowing green colour of the vegetable).
5. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): It is sold under the commercial name Ajinomoto. It is a flavour enhancer and is used in Chinese cooking (noodles, macaroni, soups, salad dressings and packaged food).
6. Aspartame: it is an artificial sweetener sold as Sugar-Free. It is also present in diet sodas and low-calorie diet foods. It is carcinogenic.
7. Oxytocin: Farmers give oxytocin injection to buffaloes so that they can be milked easily and for a longer period of lactation. Some effects of this injection appear in milk and affect its consumers (through biological magnification).
8. Ice cream: adulterant added is pepperonil, ethylacetate, butraldehyde, emil acetate, nitrate, washing powder, etc.
9. Food additives are chemicals added to foods to keep them fresh or to enhance their colour, flavour or texture. They may include food colourings (such as tartrazine or cochineal), flavour enhancers (or a range of preservatives which are harmful for the human beings.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.

It also lays down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.

It also provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition.

Other major functions are:
• Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
• Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
• Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
• Contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards.
• Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.