Getting attracted by delectable dishes in restaurants and shops are quite common by human senses. Food and food products are innumerable in the market, with our increasing daily need and fast growing lifestyle. Instant food, instant cooking is a common requirement in every household today. A ready to cook pasta, preserved purees and pastes, grounded flour, spices, and various other processed foods and fruits are readily available in the market. Regional to multinational brands are expanding there markets day by day and intruding our homes on the note of instant servings for our needs.
Adulteration is the term that is also expanding in minds of some scrupulous merchants and traders for quick and heavy profits. The food or food product, we sometimes buy from the market may be an admixture or substitution of inferior as well harmful substances. Such food is adulterated if its quality is lowered or effected by substances which are injurious to health. They provide harmful diseases instead of nutrition and good health. Adulterated food is dangerous because it may be toxic and can affect health and it could deprive nutrients essential for proper growth and development.
Following are the points which government uses to declare an adulterated food.
• 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 colored 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
It is difficult for the consumer to detect the extent of adulteration. Adulteration of foods can either be intentional, unintentional or natural.
Any act of adding, removing substances to food or altering the existing natural properties of food deliberately and knowingly is called intenational adulteration. The According to Indian Government record, an average 25 to 30% of edibles sold in the market are adulterated. Some examples of intentional adulteration are addition of water to liquid milk, extraneous matter to ground spices, or the removal or substitution of milk solids from the natural product.
Unintentional adulteration is attributed to ignorance, carelessness or lack of facilities for maintaining food quality. This kind of adulteration is a resultant of usage of pesticide and insect residues or microorganisms entering the food right from the farm through other stages leading to the customer.
Natural adulteration occurs due to the presence of certain chemicals, organic compounds or radicals naturally occurring in foods which are injurious to health and are not added to the foods intentionally or unintentionally. Some of the examples are toxic varieties of pulses, mushrooms, green and other vegetables, fish and sea foods.
Whatever be the cause of this adulteration in food, it causes harmful effects and poses health several heath problems in humans. Some of the health hazards include stomach ache, body ache, anemia, abortion, paralysis, and increase in the incidence of tumors, pathological lesions in vital organs, abnormalities of skin and eyes, liver and kidney infections as well as failure.
Some common harmful contaminant or adulterants found in food are:
Argemone Oil, through argemone seed adulteration in mustard causes dropsy, cardiac arrest
Artificially colored saw dust in tea is carcinogenic in nature
Lead Chromate adulterated in turmeric powder causes anemia, abortion, paralysis and brain damage.
Arsenic as lead arsenate is sprayed over apples; it causes death, paralysis and cramps
Cadmium which is found in fruit juices, sof drink through cadmium coated container causes live and kidney damage and Itai- Itai disease.