My City Woman's blog on adulteration in food

Adulteration In Food – How Safe Is Your Plate?

Adulteration of food in its raw form has assumed massive proportion in today’s world. If the slow poisoning begins at home , how do you escape it? We look at everyday food that we eat, give our children and elders at home that may be contaminated beyond imagination. The question is – can we repair it?

We list here the every day food , their common adulterants and subsequent health effects.

Food Adulterant Heath effect
Tea Foreign leaves or exhausted tea leaves, saw dust artificially coloured Cancer
Mustard seeds

Edible oils and fats

Argemone seeds

Argemone oil

Epidemic dropsy,


Cardiac arrest

Milk Antibiotic(gentamycin) fed cows, pesticide boric acid, preservative formalin Kidney damage, blurred vision

Turmeric whole and powdered, mixed spices

Lead  chromate Anaemia, abortion, paralysis, brain damage

Fruit juices, soft drinks, etc.

Cadmium;Brominated vegetable oils Increased salivation, acute gastritis, liver and kidney damage, prostate cancer, Anaemia, enlargement of heart

Fruits such as apples sprayed over with lead arsenate

Arsenic Dizziness, chills, cramps, paralysis, death

Alcoholic liquors

Methanol Blurred vision, blindness, death

Cereal products, custards, puddings, sauces

Bacillus cereus Food infection (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea)
Coloured food Non-permitted colour or permitted food colour beyond safe limit  

Mental retardation, cancer and other toxic effect.

Sweet foods Artificial sweetners beyond safe limit Chances of cancer
Meats from antibiotic-fed animals Antibiotics (beyond safe limit)

Multiple drug resistance hardening of arteries, heart disease


Prevention –

This kind of adulteration acts as slow poisoning. The real impact is only visible over a period of time. While completely preventing it may be tough, the following steps we can take to minimize their way into our homes.

  1. Buy from reputed or neat and clean shops –

Shops that may be infested with rats may already have been contaminated. Look around the shop to ascertain the cleanliness.

  1. Packaged food-

Be more aware of the ingredients with special attention towards preservatives, added colours, chemicals, expiry date information. Ensure that the packaging is intact.

3.Handling meat, fish and eggs –

Always store them in drip-free bags in the refrigerator. This is to prevent cross contamination with other food items. Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.

4.Handling fresh vegetables and fruits-

Wash them under running water before consumption. Remove outer layer of the vegetables like cabbage before consuming them.

5.Be more aware –

For instance, from where is it sourced. For instance, if the vegetables are labelled as organic, find out if they actually are! Also , it is a consumer’s right to know the food ingredients. The labelling or ingredients should be clearly mentioned on the product.

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