FSSAI’s helpful manual doles out tips to conduct tests at home
It is common knowledge and any newspaper/Google search will tell you that adulteration in commonly consumed foods like milk, spices, sugar and others, is a huge health hazard. Even vegetables and fruit need to be thoroughly checked to see if chemicals have been used in speeding up their ripening and /or to enhance colour and looks, for lurking pesticide residue, or if they have been genetically modified (GM) for commercial purposes. Cooki
Food adulteration or food fraud can trigger toxicity in the body that can result in poor immunity, paralysis an
According to a report in www.livelaw.in, in 1785 the first law was made to protect food quality in Massachusetts. After that, various other places started enacting food laws. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt passed the original Food and Drugs Act in California. In India, the issue of food adulteration has been a concern for over six decades. In 1954, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act was passed and was brought into force in 1955. Early this year, Maharashtra government was mulling to initiate legislation to make life imprisonment as maximum punishment for food adulteration. State minister for food and drug administration Girish Bapat
A Times of India report mentions a recent study by the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory commissioned by the Centre for Science and Environment to understand whether GM foods are available in the Indian market. It tested 65 imported and domestically produced samples, and found that 32 percent of the food samples were GM positive and 46 percent of imported products were also GM positive.
To help consumers, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has released a booklet of simple home tests to check the quality of daily use food products.
FSSAI routinely carries out sampling of food to get them tested in notified laboratories across the country. These tests require very sophisticated instruments and highly trained personnel to carry out the procedures. However, the manual mentions that there are some common adulterants that can be easily tested at home. The manual describes some of tests that can be easily carried out at home in the following categories:
The tests are lucidly described with photographs showing real visual results.
Addition of water and urea to milk, paper pulp to lassi and starch powder to curd or substitution of milk solids (removal) from the natural product and blending them with low priced adulterants is common. Under milk and milk products, four tests have been described. These pertain to the detection of the following:
For instance, if milk has detergent, a simple test with water shall form a dense lather. If milk has water, a drop of milk will slide down fast on an obliquely kept polished surface.
For coconut oil testing, Test 5 of the manual says that when refrigerated the coconut oil solidifies at the bottom while other oils present in it remain visible as a separate layer.
To check honey, if honey disperses in water, it indicates presence of sugar in it.
To check ergots in foodgrains, the grains can be put in a salt solution. Ergots will float on top. Test 13 mentions that artificially coloured food grai
Under Spices and Condiments category, 12 tests have been described, which pertain to the detection of the following:
In the Miscellaneous category, thirteen tests pertain to the detection of the following:
The FSSAI manual has been compiled by experts at FSSAI as well as scientists from ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre, Bengaluru. The manual is accompanied by a Feedback Form at the end.
For details of each test, you may download the full PDF: http://foodsmart.fssai.