Food adulteration - crime against society

Food is the basic necessity of life. One works hard and earns to buy enough food to satisfy one's hunger. However, the question that arises is that - are our foods fresh and safe? Or, are we consuming adulterated and contaminated food. Food adulteration is the process in which the quality of food is reduced either by extraction of valuable particles or addition of inferior quality materials.

Adulteration of food has become an alarming problem in most developing countries, especially in our country. There is hardly any food item in our Indian market, which is not adulterated. Milk is adulterated with water and chemical mixture of urea etc, dhania powder is adulterated by the addition of powdered horse dung or cow dung. Similarly, brick powder is added to the red chilli powder and rice is adulterated with stones. Most of the local cooking oils, butter and margarine are paraffin wax, hydrocarbons and castor oil.

Chemicals and other preservatives are added to fish and animal meat to make them look fresh and voluminous. Mineral water bottles are reused by filling tubewell water and are then sold to thirsty passengers. The rotten and stale foods in many small restaurants and hotels are mixed with fresh food and served to the customers.

Even vegetables, fruits and cereals are adulterated and contain high levels of toxic metals like nickel, lead, chromium and cadmium. Cucumber is injected with the oxytocin to increase its size. Consuming oxytocin can lead to high blood pressure, heart diseases and death. Likewise, ethril containing ethylene is mixed with banana. Eating such contaminated food can result in blindness or loss of memory.

Adulteration of food is carried out by antisocial individuals who want to make fast and easy money. These individuals do not care for the lives and health of other people. Sometimes, we ourselves create situations for the traders to supply us with adulterated food. Since, every consumer prefers to get good quality and quantity of food items at lower prices, the traders and suppliers of food items make use of this fact. They resort to adulteration of food to increase the food quantity and thereby, make more profit.

Food adulteration, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is a fatal crime against mankind. Adulterated food is impure, unsafe and can cause serious health disorders such as asthma, diarrhoea, ulcers, food poisoning, paralysis, cancer, mental disorders, etc. Sometimes, it may even result in death.

The Government of India has laid down several rules, such as the Food Products Orders, Prevention of Adulteration of Food Acts and Rules, etc. to keep a check on the quality of the food products that are sold in the market. The Bureau of Indian Standards inspects various food items that are sold to the public. After a thorough inspection, different certificates of reliability, such as the ISI (Indian Standard Institution) mark, the FPO (Food Products Order) mark, the AGMARK (Agriculture Marketing), etc. are issued to denote that the food items are safe for human consumption.

Even though we have different laws to combat Food adulteration, but like most other social laws, even these laws are rarely enforced. Moreover, the laws that we have to keep a check on food contamination are not sufficient enough. The government should create public awareness about adulteration of food. This will enable the common people to be very careful while buying food products from the traders.

© Arked Infotech 2018

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