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Food is one of man’s most basic needs. Food preparation is as varied and rich as man’s taste, ranging from the most basic dish to the most elaborate haute cuisine. The allure of riches, combined with a general disregard for humanity, has resulted in the addition of adulterants to food, ranging from simple stones in rice to the more dangerous brick and boric powder.

What is Food Adulteration?
“Food adulteration is typically defined as the addition or exclusion of any substance to or from food that affects the natural composition, structure, and quality of the food substance.”Adulteration is either intentional or unintentional, as it involves either removing substances from food or knowingly altering the natural properties of food.
Any material that is or could be used to make food unsafe, low-grade, misbranded or containing extraneous matter is referred to as an “adulterant.”

Some Examples of Food Adulterations are:
• Mixing of pulses with sand particles pebbles.
• Mixing milk with water
• Combining oil with chemical derivatives or less expensive oils
• Mixing low-quality food with fresh, high-quality food.
Food is declared adulterated if any of the following conditions are met:
• It is depreciated or harmed by the addition of a substance.
• Less expensive substances or of a lower quality are entirely or partially substituted.
• Any valuable or necessary constituent has been extracted entirely or partially.
• It’s a knockoff.
• It is coloured or otherwise treated to improve its appearance or if it contains any harmful additives.
• For whatever reason, its quality falls short of the mark.
Adulterated food is hazardous because it may be toxic and harmful to one’s health, as well as depriving one of the nutrients necessary for proper growth and development.

Method of Food Adulteration
Intentional adulteration- It occurs when adulterants are intentionally added with the intent to increase profit. For example, sand, marble chips, stones, chalk powder, and so on.
Incidental adulteration- Adulterants can be found in food as a result of carelessness, ignorance, or a lack of proper facilities. Packaging hazards, such as insect larvae, droppings, pesticide residues, and so on.
Metallic adulteration- It occurs when metallic substances are intentionally or unintentionally added to a beverage. For example, arsenic, pesticides, leads in water, mercury in effluents, tins from cans, and so on.

How can adulteration be prevented?
• Here are some safety precautions to take to avoid adulteration.
• Avoid foods that are dark in colour, junk food, and other processed foods.
• Make sure to clean and store all grains, pulses, and other food products.
• Before using fruits and vegetables, thoroughly wash them in running water.
• Before purchasing food products such as milk, oil, and other pouches, makes sure the seal is still valid.
• Always check for and purchase products with an FSSAI-validated label that includes the licence number, list of ingredients, manufactured date, and expiration date.
Adulteration is not only a significant economic issue, but it can also cause serious health problems for consumers. As studies show that adulteration is becoming more prevalent, it is concluded that additional research efforts are required to protect consumers from health risks and honest producers from economic loss.

Last Updated on August 18, 2021

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