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Food Adulteration and Health Problems
Under the Prevention of Food Adulterant Act, an Adulterant is any material which be employed for the purposes of adulteration.

Any article of food is adulterated if :

  1. If any inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or in part
  2. If any constituent of the article ahs been wholly or in part abstracted
  3. If the article has been prepared, packed or kept under insanitary conditions
  4. If the article consists in part filthy, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal or vegetable or is infested with insects
  5. If the article is obtained from diseased animal
  6. If the article contains any poisonous ingredient
  7. If the article has unprescribed colouring substance or the colouring substance is in excess of the prescribed limits.
  8. If the article contains any prohibited or excessive preservatives.
  9. If the quality nor purity of the article falls below prescribed standard
Various Health Problems due to Food Adulteration
Food Article Adulterant Simple Method for Detecting the Adulterant Health Problems
Milk Water





Put a drop of milk on polished vertical surface. The drop of pure milk either stops or flows slowly leaving a white trail behind it. Whereas milk adulterated with water will flow immediately without leaving a mark.

Take 5 ml of milk in a test tube and add 2 drops of bromothymol blue soln. Development of blue colour after 10 minutes indicates presence of urea.

Mustard Seeds Argemone Seeds Argemone seeds have rough surface and mustard seeds on pressing is yellow inside while argemone seed is white. Loss of vision and
Heart diseases
Ice Cream Washing Powder Put some lemon juice, bubbles are observed on the presence of washing powder  
Sugar Chalk Dissolve sugar in a glass of water, chalk will settle down at the bottom, similarly for salt  
Silver Foil Aluminium Foil On ignition genuine silver foil burns away completely leaving glistening white spherical ball of the same mass while aluminum foil is reduced to ashes of black Grey colour.  
Honey Water A cotton wick dipped in pure honey burns when ignited with a match stick. If adulterated presence of water will not allow the honey to burn, if it does will produce a cracking sound.  
Coffee Chicory Gently sprinkle the coffee powder on surface of water in a glass.  The coffee floats over the water but chicory begins to sink down within few seconds.  The falling chicory powder particles leave behind them a trail of colour, due to large amount of caramel they contain  

Coloured leaves


 Used tea


Iron fillings

Rub leaves on white paper, artificial colour comes out on paper.

Tea leaves sprinkled on wet filter paper. Pink or red spots on paper show colour

Move a magnet through the sample. Iron will stick to the magnet.

Appendicitis and
Small Intestine problems
Red Chilli Powder

Rodamine Culture


 Brick Powder

Take 2gms sample in a test tube, add 5ml of acetone. Immediate appearance of red colour indicates presence of Rodamine.

 Brick powder settles fast chilli powder settles slowly when put in water.

Loss of vision and Respiratory diseases
Turmeric Powder Metanil Yellow Add a few drops of HCl to the extract of turmeric from water. Instant appearance of violet, when the colour persists when diluted with water indicates the presence of metanil yellow. Anaemia, Epilepsy and
loss of vision
Dal arhar, moong, washed channa Metanil Yellow Extract the colour with Luke warm water from the sample of pulses, add drops of HCl.  A pink colour indicates presence of metanil yellow.  
Green vegetables like chilli Malachite green Take a small part of the sample and place it over a moistened white blotting paper, the impression of the colour on paper indicates the presence of malachite green  
Pure Ghee or Butter Vanaspathi Take one teaspoonful of melted ghee or butter with equal quantity of Conc. Hydrochloric acid in a test tube and add to it a pinch of cane sugar. Shake well for one minute and let it stand for five minutes. Appearance of crimson colour in lower layer shows the presence of vanaspathi.  
Black Pepper Papaya Seeds Float the sample in alcohol. The mature black pepper berries sink while papaya seeds and light black pepper float.  
Hing Soap Stone or earthy matter Shake a little portion of sample with water and allow to settle. Soap stone or earthy matter will settle down at the bottom.  
Saffron Coloured dried tendrils of maize cob Pure saffron will not break easily like artificial. Pure saffron when allowed to dissolved in water will continue to give its colour so long as it lasts.  
Common Salt White powdered stone Stir a spoonful of sample salt in water. Chalk will make the solution white and other insoluble impurities will setlle down. Appendicitis
Ground Nut Oil Argemone Oil   Loss of vision and
Heart diseases
Coriander Powder     Respiratory diseases
What You Can Do ?
Food Adulteration occur in rural as well as urban areas. So the first option is to buy branded  and ISI-marked products. Even if these branded items cost a little extra, it is worth paying the extra amount to safe guard your health.

If you have purchased any branded item and doubt its quality, you can at least approach the company concerned. Always remember to preserve your grocery bills so that the company can take necessary steps regarding the complaint

If any person manufactures for sale, stores, sell imports or distributes any article of food which is adulterated or misbranded, he is liable under the PFA Act to be punished with imprisonment and fined.  If you find that any food is adulterated, then do not keep silent. Complain to Prevention of Food Adulteration Department in your city / town / district and report to the newspapers and make more and more people aware to take joint action.

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