Food adulteration is a process of reducing the quality of food items, either by adding adulterants or by removing vital substances. Food adulteration has become very common these days and it is usually done to increase profits by increasing the quantity or bulk of the item. Food adulteration is mainly done on commonly consumed items like milk, turmeric, oil, sugar, honey, chilli powder and so on. As food adulteration is increasing each day, you must be aware of the tests which can help you identify the presence of common adulterants in food ingredients.
Salt and sugar are common items we use each day in our Kitchens. Chalk power is usually added to increase the quantity of sugar and salt. You can check the presence of adulterants in salt and sugar through a simple test. All you have to do is add a spoonful of the salt or sugar to a glass of water and stir for a few minutes. If it turns into a white chalky color and residue settles at the bottom of the glass, it means chalk is added to it. If the solution is pure, then no adulterants are added to it.
Milk is usually adulterated with water, detergent, chalk, fat, starch and urea. Khoya is adulterated with paper and refined oil. To check milk adulteration, you have to mix a small amount of milk with 20 ml of water and boil it. After boiling, you must transfer it to a transparent glass and cool to room temperature. Once it is cooled, add two drops of iodine solution. If it changes to a blue color, starch is mixed to it.
You can also check milk adulteration by pouring a drop of milk, on a polished slant surface. If the milk flows without leaving a trail, it is adulterated. Normally, pure milk leaves a white trail behind.
To increase the quantity of coconut oil, other oils are added to it. You can check the presence of other oils by a simple test.
Take some coconut oil in a bowl and place it in the fridge for half an hour. If it is pure coconut oil, the entire sample will thicken. If other oils are added to it, it will be seen as a separate layer.
Mustard Oil is adulterated by adding Argemone oil. To check the presence of Argemone oil, you must take a sample of mustard oil in a transparent glass and add a few drops of nitric acid to it. You will need to shake it well and heat it up for 2 to 3 minutes. If a red color appears once it is heated, it means argemone oil is added to it.
Used tea leaves which are artificially colored, are added to increase the quantity of tea powder. You can check its presence by sprinkling a teaspoon of tea powder on a moist blotting paper. In case the blotting paper's color changes to orange, red or yellow, artificially colored tea powder is added to it. Color from the pure tea powder is released only when it is added to hot water or milk.
Butter or ghee is adulterated with vanaspati, vegetable oil, and starch. To check the presence of vegetable oil in butter or ghee, you need to take melted ghee or butter in a transparent bottle and add some sugar to it. Close the container, shake it well and leave it for 5 minutes. If vegetable oil is added to the sample, a red color appears at the bottom of the vessel. To check the presence of other oils, you must melt the butter or ghee and place it in the fridge for some time. If other oils are added to it, a separate layer will appear.
Artificial color or brick powder is added to red chilly powder, to increase its quantity. To check the presence of adulterants, you need to add a teaspoon of chilli powder to a glass of water and stir it well. If the solution changes into a bright red color, it shows the presence of artificial color.