Junk food in its various forms is extremely popular, and an integral part of modern popular culture. In the US, annual fast food sales are in the area of $160 billion. These foods entice you in the form of convenience foods, snack foods, and candy. With the Maggi controversy sending shock waves across the Indian consuming community, it high time to wake up to the alarming truths about fast foods.
Not only the much popular instant noodles, many of the commonly sold food items like milk products, desi ghee, tea, spices like turmeric, chillies and black pepper and even the packaged water also have high adulteration levels, according to latest reports. The adulteration percentage in these food products has been on the rise during past five years, point out these studies.
Test conducted on food samples collected by Health Department officials from across the country of late has indicated that adulteration of milk, milk products like desi ghee, edible oils, pulses and mineral water is on the rise, causing concern among both the health officials and common people.
It is reported that milk, bought by the people for the sake of good health, contained harmful and cancer-causing chemicals like urea beyond the permissible limit of 700 particles per million (PPM). Products like soy flour, sucrose, glucose and starch, desi ghee are often laced by unscrupulous retailers with cheaper vegetable oils, palm oil and artificial flavouring agents. Similarly, mustard oil was adulterated with crude rice bran and household spices like turmeric were found to be mixed with cheap rice bran plus the addition of carcinogenic non-permitted colours.
Ordinary filtered and packaged water was being ‘mis-branded’ in a large number of cases after the removal of micro-organisms as ‘mineral water’ without any mandatory ISI or BIS certificate. Even tea leaves were found adulterated with iron flakes to increase their weight while the silver foil used to improve the look of sweets like ‘burfi’ was being substituted with aluminium foil, which is harmful for human health. Pulses were found to have been adulterated with non-permitted artificial colours while black pepper was mixed with papaya seeds with a motive to earn more money by unscrupulous traders.
(Read the full part of this article from the July issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)