Food adulteration (adulteration of foods)

Food adulteration is an increasing threat due to dishonest traders and manufacturers all over the world. It gives a way to exploit naïve customers and earn more profits easily. In all free market societies where, legal control is poor or non-existent, the usage of adulterants is widespread and common.

The strict application of appropriate laws by the Government authorities and awareness of consumers is very important to eliminate this man-made curse. Here, have a few easy tips that can help you examine some of the most important foods at home so that you can stay healthy and fit:

Table of content

  • Adulteration in Milk
  • Adulteration analysis in Honey
  • Adulteration in Clean vegetables
  • Adulteration in Mustard Oil
  • Adulteration in desi Ghee

Adulteration in Milk

Among all food items, adulteration in milk is the most frequent. Milk adulteration occurs by mixing simple water with it. After the addition of water, pure milk undergoes some new physical and nutritional constituents. If milk is impure and has water contamination, it makes high risk of having infections from microbial contamination after consumption.

You can easily recognise the addition of water by having a close look at the milk you have bought. After water addition, the milk becomes watery and thin. Adulterers mix various kinds of chemical substances to make milk thick and consistent. After mixing, the adulterated milk resembles like pure milk. The probable milk adulterants are urea, vanaspati, formalin, and starchy foods.

Test for adulteration in milk can be done at home using following ways:

  • Reduction test – Boil milk on a medium flame until it solidifies and becomes hard (khoya). Rough remains show off the adulteration in the milk while oily remains show off its purity.
  • How to identify water – Water in milk may not be bad to improve your overall wellness. However, it can be expensive for you. To evaluate the purity, put a drop of milk on slope surface and let it drift downward. If the milk leaves a trail behind, it is impure.
  • How to identify Vanaspati/Dalda – Vanaspati is negative for your wellness if you consume it in a big quantity or regularly. To examine the presence of vanaspati in milk, add 2 tablespoons of hydrochloric acid, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. If the mix changes red, the milk is impure.
  • How to identify starch – If your vendor has included starchy foods to milk, you can identify it. And for this, add 2 tablespoons of salt (iodine) to 5 ml of milk. Combination will turn red if the milk is not pure.
  • How to identify Formalin – Pure milk has a life of 24 hours if you keep it at 70 degrees. Vendors or suppliers mix artificial harmful preservatives such as formalin to increase the life expectancy. Formalin is a highly toxic substance and harmful for your kidney and liver. To evaluate for formalin existence in milk, take 10 ml of it in test tube and put 2-3 drops of sulphuric acid into it. If a blue ring appears at the top, the milk is impure. Otherwise, it is pure.
  • How to identify urea in milk – One of the most frequent forms of adulteration in milk is urea. Milk vendors mix it with milk as it does not change the flavour. And its identification is little difficult. To evaluate for urea in milk, mix half of a tablespoon of milk and soyabean (or arhar) powder together. Shake the mix well. After 5 minutes, dip litmus paper for 30 seconds. If there is a shade that changes red to blue, it means the milk has a mix of urea.
  • How examine artificial milk – Vendors make artificial or synthetic dairy products by combining chemicals such as soapy water. Artificial or synthetic diary products have a bad flavour. It feels soapy when rubbed and changes yellowish when heated.

Adulteration analysis in Honey

Usually, honey (if it is not pure) has adulterants like bananas, glucose, sweet potato, and rice/maize syrups. Vendors mix these adulterants independently or together to earn more profit. Here are how you can find out adulterants in honey:

  • Flame test – Pure honey provides smoke free fire during the captivation with the use of candlestick fire or lab Bunsen burning. You can know the honey has adulterants if you notice smoky fire or breaking sound during fa ire test.
  • Warming effect – Under this test,you can heat honey to melt frozen material. Pure honey dissolves clear viscous mixture while wax components stay on the surface.
  • Blending test – The blending of honey with bananas, potato-starch, or wheat flour to dissolve to make non-transparent and dispersed liquid. Mixing of honey with sugar (more than 50 % w/w) is done to make made partially transparent, more dispersed, and thicker form.
  • Microscopic analysis – With it, you can expose the adulteration of honey with sugar, bananas, or other substances. You can find plant tissues and fibbers if honey is impure.

Adulteration in Clean vegetables

Like Green Chilli and Bitter Gourd and others

  • Test by blotting paper – Almost all fresh vegetables look green. Vendors use Malachite green to make vegetables look fresh. To check its wholesomeness, you can remove some veggies for place. And sample it on a bit of moistened white coloured blotting pieces of paper. The impact of colour on the paper suggests the usage of malachite green or any other low priced synthetic colour.
  • Test by soaked cotton – Have a patch of pure cotton soaked in wax Paraffin and rub it on vegetables. Keep in mind that vendors use artificial colours to make green vegetables look fresh. To check the purity of tomatoes, you can apply the same method. If they are coloured, you will find red colour coming from it. Similarly, you can test the freshness of red-coloured chillies.

Adulteration in Mustard Oil

In making oils, manufacturers use various plants and fish. Oils are not actually taken as an item of food group. However, they contribute essential nutrients in our daily consumption. We use edible oils to cook and fry meals. Some of the most common edible oils are -vegetable oil, safflower oil, olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and mustard oil.

Two major adulteration processes that manufacturers do in edible oils are – admixing cold press oil with refined one and replacement of costlier oils with cheaper one. As edible oil, mustard oil is highly popular within the Indian Subcontinent. To earn more profit, manufacturers mix argemone oil, castor oil, mineral oil, organic oil, and even mobile oil with mustered oil. Here, have a look at how to identify pure mustered oil:

  • How to detect Argemone oil – Pour a small volume of oil in a test tube and add equal quantity of concentrated Nitric acid. After that, shake it carefully. Reddish coloured to reddish dark brown shade in lower (acid solution) level will indicate the presence of Argemone oil in mustered oil. Colourless (not yellowish) Nitric acid may be used. If there is a use of artificial colours, it will usually be a bright shade of colour. The test might often give deceptive. The test may not respond if the Argemone oil is present in small quantity.
  • How you can identify Mineral oil – Get 2 ml from the oil sample and add more an identical quantity of N/2 Alcoholic potash. Warm the mix in cooking water bath tub (drop in boiling hot normal water) for about 15 minutes. The water amount should be 10 ml. Any turbidity shows reputation of vitamin oil. If mineral oil is present in small quantity, this test may not be positive.
  • The best way to detect Castor oil – Get about 1 ml of the oil, add more 10 ml of acidified petroleum ether and mixture well. Include several drops of ammonium molybdate reagent. Immediate appearance of bright white turbidity suggests the presence of castor oils. If castor oil is present in small quantity, this test may not be positive.

Adulteration test in desi Ghee

Ghee can simply be admixture with inexpensive adulteration. These typical adulterants are vanaspati (hydrogenated fat), refined veggie oil (Deoxidized oils), and fats of animal body. As vanaspati is added with sesamum oil, the detection of adulteration of ghee becomes tough. So, the peoples of all walks of life should think over it seriously. The adulteration in ghee can be detected by using following two tests:

  • Furfural test- Take 100 ml of dissolved ghee in the test tube. In another test, mix 0.1 ml of the furfural liquid with 10 ml conc. HCL. Mix the dissolved ghee with the furfural acid solution. Shake well, allow the mix to stand for 10 minutes, and observe the colour. If ghee has an adulteration of sesamum oil, it will have a violet colour appearance.
  • Baudouin test- Mix 0.1 gm of perfectly powdered cane sugar with 10 ml conc. HCL.  Add this mixture to about 10 ml of dissolved ghee. Melt thoroughly and allow to stand it for 10 minutes. If violet colour is present, add 10 ml water, shake, and allow to stand it for another 10 minutes. Appearance of violet colour indicates the existence of sesamum oil.

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