Food Adultration

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Food adulteration:

Food adulteration The process of lowering the nutritive value of food either by removing a vital component or by adding substances of inferior quality, is called food adulteration. The substance that is used to lower the quality is known as adulterant. Reasons for food adulteration are To get more profit To increase the weight To increase volume of trade by showing lower prices

Steps of food adulteration:

Steps of food adulteration The movement of food from the producer to the consumer involves: Transportation Storage Processing Packaging Marketing and Distribution.

Effects of adulteration on humans:

Effects of adulteration on humans Symptoms like headache, gastro-intestinal disorders, muscular pain, drowsiness, allergic reactions, cancer etc., appear, if adulterated food substances are used regularly. For example, Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (N D G TA) is an antioxidant used in food fats, which has been found to produce allergic reactions in some individuals.    

How dangerous are these adulterants??:

How dangerous are these adulterants?? T he argemone oil used to adulterate ghee and butter is highly toxic. It causes a disease known as dropsy. Watery fluid collecting in some parts of the body is the main symptom. It affects the normal functioning of the body. It may also paralyse the limbs. Metanil yellow used to brighten the colour of pulses, turmeric powder and sweet meats, is a coal-tar dye. It may cause cancer.

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Washing soda often added to powdered sugar and other food items , may cause intestinal disorders . Food items prepared under unhygienic conditions and stale foods cause food poisoning .


Cont, US v. Lexington Mills Alsop process added N2 gas to flour Presence of N2 caused flour to be adulterated Court held: Presence of a poison or deleterious substance must be such as may render the food article “ injurious to health ”

Types of Food Contamination:

Types of Food Contamination There are three ways which food can be contaminated: • Physical; • Chemical; • Bacterial.

Physical contamination:

Physical contamination This can occur in a variety of ways at different stages of food processing and production. Some examples are: • soil from the ground when harvesting; • a bolt from a processing plant when packaging; • a hair from a cook in the kitchen. Chemical contamination This can occur in a variety of ways at different stages of food processing and production. Some examples are: • chemicals from the farm; • a cleaning product used in the processing when packaging; • fly spray used in the kitchen when preparing food.

Bacterial contamination:

Bacterial contamination As soon as food is harvested, slaughtered or manufactured into a product it starts to change. This is caused by two main processes: autolysis – self destruction, caused by enzymes present in the food; microbial spoilage – caused by the growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds.

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Autolysis - enzymes Microbial spoilage - bacteria Enzymes are chemicals that are found in food. These chemicals have important uses in food. They can cause food to deteriorate in three main ways: ripening – this will continue until the food becomes inedible, e.g. banana ripening; browning – enzymes can react with air causing the skin of certain foods, e.g. potatoes and apples discolouring; oxidation – loss of certain nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and thiamin from food, e.g. over boiling of green vegetables. These are single celled micro organisms (they cannot be seen by the naked eye) which are present naturally in the environment. There are many different kinds, some are useful, e.g. in the production of yogurt, and some harmful. The presence of bacteria in food can lead to digestive upset. Some bacteria produce toxins which can lead to this also. Spores can also be produced by some bacteria leading to toxins being produced.

Conditions for bacterial growth:

Conditions for bacterial growth Micro-organisms need conditions to survive and reproduce these can include: temperature; moisture; food; time; oxygen; pH level.

Chemical Contaminants:

Chemical Contaminants Intentional Food Additives Use of materials which enhance the acceptability of the products and/or aid in the development of the product Residues This includes both food processing component residues as well as PESTICIDES, ANTIBIOTIC OR HORMONE IMPLANT residues Natural Toxicants Product Tampering

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In animal products also, residues of veterinary drugs and growth promoting substances may be present. During processing, food can be contaminated with processing aids , such as filtering and cleaning agents, and with metals coming from the equipment. Finally, contaminants can be included in foods during packaging and storage. These can originate from plastics, coatings , and tins .

Potential for Mercury Toxicity:

Potential for Mercury Toxicity Mercury occurs naturally in soil and in the atmosphere from volcanic emissions Mercury is extracted and used in industry, then enters air or water from pollution Very toxic to the nervous system, also to kidneys Mercury contaminates mostly fish and fishery products and is not changed by cooking . Minimata , Japan, 50 years ago…Seafood from the bay was polluted with mercury from an industrial source, many cases of neurotoxcity were seen, directly related to seafood consumption Most striking was the vulnerability of the fetal brain to mercury toxicity shown by the high rate of cerebral palsy in children born during this period

Detection of food adulteration:

Detection of food adulteration Tea powder and Soji ( rava ) : Adulterants : Iron filings: Spread the tea leaves or soji on a paper. Draw a magnet over it. The iron filings if present, are attracted by the magnet. Rice and wheat : Adulterants : Sand grit, marble pieces, soap stone pieces. These are visually detected and removed by sorting, handpicking and washing.

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Common Salt, Soji : Adulterants- sand and grit A tea spoon of salt is added to a glass tumbler containing water. Salt dissolves. Sand and grit settle at the bottom. About 5 gms of soji is sprinkled on water. The sand particles sink and soji floats. Coffee powder : Adulterant- Tamarind seed powder: Two teaspoons of coffee powder is added to water in a tumbler. Coffee powder floats and the adulterants sink.

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Cooking oil : Adulterant- Argemone oil: About 5 ml of cooking oil is taken in a test tube and 5 ml of concentrated nitric acid is added to it. A reddish brown colour appears if argemone oil is present in it. Ghee and butter : Adulterants- Vanaspathi : A tea spoon full of butter or ghee is taken in a test tube. Concentrated hydrochloric acid and a pinch of sugar is added to it. It is stirred well and allowed to settle for five minutes. Crimson red colour appears in the lower layer if vanaspathi is present in the sample.

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Milk: Adulterant- Water: A few drops of milk is dropped on a slanting glass plate. Pure milk will flow slowly leaving a white trail behind. Milk mixed with water will flow quickly leaving no trail. Greens and Vegetables must be cleaned well before using. They must be soaked in water to which a little salt is added for ten minutes. The chemical layer of pesticides and sticky dirt that contaminate will be removed. Subsequently they are to be washed thoroughly in water.64 This test will not hold good for skimmed milk supplied by the government dairy. An instrument called lactometer is used to measure the density of milk. Unadulterated milk should give a reading of 1.026 in the lactometer.

Common adulterants found in food:

Common adulterants found in food Food grains and grams- marble pieces, sand particles, clay gilts, soap stone pieces. Pulses- kesari dhal – Colours Wheat flow Maida-powdered lime – talcum powder Turmeric powder ( Haldi )- metanil yellow Pepper- dry papaya seeds Chilli powder- coloured saw dust Sweets- colours not permitted Honey- jaggery – sugar Tea- coloured tea leaves after removing the essence


Cont- The most dangerous adulteration of wine is by some preparation of lead. Poisonous bread --- the goodness of bread is measured by its brightness. It is therefore usual to add a certain quantity of alum to the dough. This renders the dough whiter and firmer. Poisonous cheese --- colour cheese with annatto contaminated with ‘ red lead’ Poisonous pickles --- to obtain a lovely green colour in your pickles, boil vinegar in a copper pot and pour it boiling hot on cucumbers. Poisonous confectionery --- mix sugar, starch and clay then add red lead for a red colour or copper for a green colour

Food Standard:

Food Standard The quality, composition, labeling, presentation and advertising of food is covered by legal requirements known as Food Standards. These also cover the suitability of materials and articles that come into contact with food.

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To ensure the quality, safety and legality of packaging and packaging materials To assure the users of packaging that the packaging producer has robust quality and safety systems Maintain customer confidence in their supply base through audit and certification Provides a basis for approval of suppliers by customers O bjectives of the Standard

Precaution to be taken by the public regarding adulteration:

Precaution to be taken by the public regarding adulteration It is better to avoid adulterated cool drinks , instead you can have any fresh fruit juice and tender coconut. Parents should be concerned about the quality and freshness of these food articles like chocolates, sweets that children usually like. Take the help of food adulteration testing centres. Lodge complaints to the concerned authorities, if adulteration is detected. Make sure that food packets carry ISI, AGMARK or FPO labels, before buying. Do not buy food articles, if expiry date is crossed.

Adulteration and law:

Adulteration and law The Government of India has promulgated an Act called the “ Prevention of Food Adulteration Act’ in the year 1954. The Act has been periodically amended to check dishonest practices of traders. If the traders violate the standards mentioned in the Act, they are punishable under law. The quality controlling agencies like Indian Standards Institution (ISI) and Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (AGMARK) test the food products for their quality periodically. FPO - Food Processing Organisation and the local health65 departments in the Corporation also conduct periodic surveys and issue certificates . All the packets containing food products must carry ISI, AGMARK or FPO stamp.

BY- HIMANI BATHEJA Ansal University:


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